More than once Thursday, Al Gore compared climate deniers to substance abusers during an impassioned speech at a Center for American Progress policy summit. The vice president-turned-climate-activist also went out of his way to put President Obama on notice regarding his pending decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.
"How ridiculous is that? It's an atrocity," Gore said of the pipeline that would carry heavy crude from Canada to U.S. refineries. "I'm a big fan of President Obama; I've appreciated his speeches on climate ... [but] this should be vetoed. It is an atrocity, it is a threat to our future." America's petroleum dependency, he said, resembles that of junkies who find veins in their toes when they run out of places to shoot up in their arms and legs.
Gore blamed special interests for making it difficult for politicians to address climate change, comparing Washington to a "family where an alcoholic father flies into a rage every time alcohol is mentioned" and concerned-but-scared observers choose not to address the volatile problem.
He cited recent weather events as evidence of the need for a rapid change in energy policy. Flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes, he said, are all occurring more frequently and with more ferocity. "We are seeing these once-in-1,000-year events on a regular basis," he said.