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posted 02/21/07

Gore, Sachs Address Way Forward on Climate Change

Al Gore and EI Director Jeffrey D. Sachs spoke at Columbia University on February 20. Photo credit: Bruce Gilbert

On February 20, 2007, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore spoke to a packed house in Columbia’s Low Library Rotunda to address the next steps needed to mitigate the global climate crisis.

Gore called upon younger generations to speak up and demand change from the people in power, as his generation did during the civil rights movement. “We have become overly focused on short-term priorities, losing sight of the far-reaching consequences of our choices and actions,” he said.

“We’re facing a planetary emergency,” he added.

Read Scientific American's blog about this event

The event, which was attended by about 500 scientists, students, supporters, and press, was moderated by John Rennie, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American. Rennie also presented Gore with the magazine’s 2006 Policy Leader of the Year award.

As a framework for going forward, Sachs referred to a joint statement announced earlier that day by the Earth Institute’s Global Roundtable on Climate Change, where nearly 100 companies endorsed a groundbreaking global framework to fight climate change. Sachs reported that business and industry is ready to change and “they’re waiting for government to lay out the policy.”

Sachs added that individuals can go to the Web site and sign onto the new framework, which spells out specific new and sustainable energy strategies that can meet growing global energy needs and make a clean energy future a reality.

"I believe a solution is possible," he said.

About The Earth Institute
The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines — earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences — and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit