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Live from the Conference on Global Climate Change and the world of wine

Al Gore talking at the Climate Change and Wine conference

The second day of the Cambio Climatico y Vino is starting off to be a take on what wine makers are experiencing, and how they are adapting to what appears to be a foregone conclusion on the question of climate change and wine.


What is the truth? Our generation is being asked on behalf of future generations of bearing a large responsibility of changing our habits.

3 Causes that have Contributed to Climate Change in the last 100 years between both Humankind and the Planet

  1. 1. We have seen a quadrupling of population. Consequences: major impact on the planet’s resources.
  2. 2. Technology has impacted climate change by aiding in human longevity, and therefore, increasing population and stressing resources.
  3. 3. Attitudes have been numbed because CO2 is tasteless and odorless; hence, humans haven’t reacted promptly, because CO2 isn’t tangible. Coal, oil and natural gas have been pulled out of the earth; whereby, adding to higher CO2 levels.Example: The temperature of Venus is 455 degrees Fahrenheit,as a result of CO2 floating in its atmosphere. Earth will continue in the exact same path, as we draw fossil fuels out of the ground and into our own atmosphere. If this doesn’t stop, both men and women will be from Venus, not from Mars.

What Wineries are doing now to help with sustainability:

  • Placing solar energy on winery roofs
  • Becoming carbon neutral
  • Using safe and carefully processed forms of biodiesal or geothermal energy

Global Efforts Needed to be Made

  • Need a global compact-focused on solutions to the crises and a massive effort to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy
  • Ways of increasing the efficiency of energy user. Example: 99% of energy is lost moving people in a car from point A to point B.
  • Use hybrids and electric cars, focused on renewable energy

Political Challenge

    Admit the issue and accept responsibility. Summon the political will to make chance on a personal, organizational, and industrial level.

Global Treaty

  • Kyoto treaty in 1997 must be ratified by the US.
  • We must change minds on a grassroots level.

African Proverb
If you want to go quickly go alone
If you want to far, go together

Gore wants to leave the earth saying:

How did you find the moral authority to rise and successfully fight a crises that so many thought it was impossible to solve? If we believe that the big issues are too big and too depressing, we’ll be overwhelmed and not change. We must shift our attitude, because few have had such a rare opportunity of doing the work that helps the entire planet.


Question 1: Do you drink wine and what kind of wines do you like?

Spanish wine is fantastic, especially from Catalunya, but he also likes wine from Chili, Italy and California.

Question 2: What is the local government’s responsibility of taking a leadership role in fighting climate change?

Because nations have failed, local regions have begun to fight, such as California. The sooner we adapt, he says, the easier it will be to unlock the benefits of getting through the initial transition. In the USA, 800 cities that have independently joined the Kyoto protocol, while 12 states are observing it.

Question 3: What do you think about biofuel?

He supports biofuel, but crops must be grown with low energy efficiency, so that the net balance is positive. The CO2 released from biofuel can then be recaptured in next year’s crop.

Problems with Biofuel:
First Issue: Areas are covered by rainforests have been destroyed for palm oil or sugarcane plantations, which is a poor way of implementing biofuel technology. It’s a great form of alternative energy if it’s produced and processed in a careful and responsible way.

Second Issue: Important to pay attention as to which crops are chosen, not like we’ve done in the US with corn.

Question 4: Where is climate change in the US elections?

Although not in the mainstream conversation, Gore has explained that all three candidates will bring about change in US policy.

Question 5: What are your thoughts on the decline of oil?

Price of oil is going up because oil is deeper and harder to reach. China and India are adding to the demand of oil and coal, pushing price up, and consequently, placing a greater emphasis on conservation. However, consumption is not declining, so we must look at alternative energy.

Question 6: Which industries are leading the way to adapting to climate change

There is no one industry that stands out as the hero, but many companies who have done incredible work. However, he wants more participation from coal, oil and car industries.

Question 7: Will you produce a second version of your movie?

There will be a sequel to his movie, hopefully, next year.

Question 8: Do you think that our children are informed about the danger and future quality of their lives?

No. Children are not being educated adequately; however, we must take great care when talking about subjects that may give children a heavy burden when considering their future. The future is not written in stone. It is up to us to choose our future, but we have a responsibility to educate them fully, while alerting them to their choices.

Question 9: When you lost the election, how did you motivate yourself to continue?

He relied on his family and faith. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, a sediment he abides by strongly. You must focus on the future, on hope and on what you can do now to change the future.

Question 10: Why is there a lack of connection between scientists and politics in the
US when there are so many US scientists adding key research to the debate?

Gore has seen a major change in the way we communicate about issues in the political venue. Because politicians may only speak in soundbites, relying on television commercials to communicate their message, money from companies takes precedent over scientific research. However, if the Internet continues to grow at the rate it is, giving power back to the people and the scientists, politicians will have to change their strategy to get their base support. Until that day comes, however, money will be the single driving factor.

Question 11: How do you balance profit and sustainability in winemaking?

In the past, this was seen as a relationship of conflict, but now, companies that make adjustments are seeing an increase in profits. When we see a price placed on carbon, the responsible companies will find themselves with greater profits.

Question 12: 15 year old student in Barcelona who wants to know what he can do?

Gore gave the example of a 15 year old boy who approached him on his desire to contribute to the climate change conversation. Gore, chose to educate the child on his slide show on climate change, providing him the knowledge and tools to educate others. Evidently, this same child has now taught well over 25,000 people on the effects of climate change, and ways to combat it through Gore’s slides. Gore emphasized that even one young child can impact the world, and it is up to us to make a difference, every moment of our lives.

Start at home. Read. Learn. Persuade others!

Question 13: What is the new Kyoto treaty?

3 Differences between the old and the new treaty:
First, more assistance in helping poorer countries reduce CO2 by implementing programs such as tree planting and the instillation of solar energy systems. Second, there will be higher limits on CO2 globally. And three, the USA will hopefully join the treaty!

***For those of you who haven’t heard, Australia has recently ratified the Kyoto Treaty!

Question 14: What is the responsibility of the wine industry in climate crisis?

The importance of brand has been increasing. Hence, when consumers make a choice between different kinds of wine, they feel as if they have a stronger affinity towards certain companies, which will affect the marketplace. So, if they feel that the wine industry in Spain is taking action against global warming, they will buy their wine, and wineries will see the end profit because of their sustainable efforts.

Final Thoughts

Wine industry in Spain has a huge leadership role. If they put into action what they’ve learned today, they will see the benefits socially and economically in the long run!

Cheers! Cheers Al! And thanks for the great Speech!

Gabriella and Ryan

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