My Al Gore story

I’m not normally given to shameless name-dropping, but what else are blogs really for (other than making bets with readers)?

For the last three days I attended a small climate solutions summit hosted by the former Vice President and current Nobel Laureate. It was off-the-record, so I can’t report on presentations directly, but they have made me a lot smarter about the latest technologies and strategies for clean energy, which will inform my blogging this year on climate solutions. I will say now as an aside that I have become much more bullish on the potential for large-scale solar photovoltaics as a result of attending these meetings.

The VP asked me to speak for seven minutes on hydrogen at dinner Wednesday. Before dinner, I gave him a copy of the brand-new paperback edition of Hell and High Water (TV and movies aren’t the only place for product placement). He looked it over for a few minutes and said, deadpan,

I have only one problem with this book — this blurb on the back here that says, “If you buy only one book about global warming, make it Hell and High Water.” I just can’t agree with that.

He repeated the line when he introduced me that night to great laughter.

BTW, in case it wasn’t obvious from his movie, the VP has a terrific sense of humor — and not just in his delivery timing of canned jokes, but in quick, impromptu one liners, like the one above, many of them self-deprecating (one of the speakers from a web-based company thanked him for his work accelerating the Internet, and he said something like, “You heard I had something to do with the internet?”).

And in case this wasn’t obvious from his movie, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things related to climate, energy, science, and technology.

He has only one character flaw that I could see. He emceed all the panels and every single one of them ran late (including my remarks, hard to believe as that may be). Too many questions, too much curiosity. I’m guessing this is one thing George W. has on him, probably runs a really tight meeting.

Gore is now working on a sequel to his bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth, which will focus on solutions, apparently not dissuaded from his task by the new subtitle on my paperback, “The Global Warming Solution” (I think I have this product placement thing figured out). Hopefully it will come out this year. It could really help move the debate.

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