Davos WEF

Al Gore compares climate crisis to historic events like 9/11

Key Points
  • Delivering closing remarks at a World Economic Forum session on Wednesday, Gore spoke passionately about the climate emergency.
  • At one stage, the co-founder of Generation Investment Management compared the scale of the crisis to famous battles in history.
  • "This is Thermopylae. This is Agincourt. This is Dunkirk. This is the Battle of the Bulge. This is 9/11," Gore said.
Former US Vice-President Al Gore, speaks at the Securing a Sustainable Future for the Amazon, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 22, 2020.
FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP via Getty Image

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore believes the climate crisis is getting worse "way faster" than most people realize, describing it as a "challenge to our moral imagination."

Delivering closing remarks at a World Economic Forum panel session on Wednesday, Gore spoke passionately about the climate emergency.

At one stage, the co-founder of Generation Investment Management compared the scale of the crisis to a number of infamous historic events.

It is "way worse" than many realize and intensifying "way faster" than people appreciate, Gore said.

"This is Thermopylae. This is Agincourt. This is Dunkirk. This is the Battle of the Bulge. This is 9/11," he added.

Gore's comments follow the the hottest year on record for the world's oceans, the second-hottest year for global average temperatures, and wildfires from the U.S. to the Amazon to Australia.

'Foolish fortune tellers'

This year's WEF in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos is focusing on climate change.

The event, which is often criticized for being out of touch with the real world, has said it aims to assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress toward the Paris Agreement and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump dismissed "perennial prophets of doom" on climate change, calling activists campaigning for political action "heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers."

The U.S. leader, who returned to Davos in 2020 after skipping the event last year, has often expressed skepticism about the scale of the climate crisis.

Since coming to power in 2016, Trump has pulled the U.S. — one of the world's leading carbon emitters — out of the Paris Agreement and sought to roll back over 80 environmental regulations.

'Our house is still on fire'

Swedish 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday sharply criticized world leaders for political inaction over climate change.

In a keynote address, she warned: "Our house is still on fire."

"Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. We are still telling you to panic, and to act as if you loved your children above all else," she added.

Thunberg was catapulted to fame for skipping school every Friday to hold a weekly vigil outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018.

She was recently named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019 after sparking an international wave of school strikes — also known as "Fridays for Future." Last year, millions of children took part in rallies around the world to protest political inaction over climate change.

When asked whether there was anything that made Gore feel hopeful when it comes to climate change, he replied: "The young generation is a source of hope."

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