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Gore: The whole auto industry needs to be transformed

Al Gore talked about the failing auto industry in USA, "clean coal" and the environmental work being done in China in a recent interview with Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria.

In the interview Gore said that he thinks that the whole auto industry needs to be "transformed", and that the auto makers in USA "should make a transition as quickly as possible toward plug-in hybrid electric vehicles."

ZAKARIA: Would you bail out the carmakers?

Whatever assistance might be forthcoming should be focused on speeding the changes that are absolutely essential to ensure that our companies are competitive in the global marketplace. When I was vice president, I initiated a program called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. The federal government invested over a billion dollars in partnership with the Big Three to focus on the accelerated development of advanced high-efficiency vehicles. But as soon as they felt they were off the hook at the end of 2000, they pulled the plug and walked away.

Gore also mentioned that he is in favour of raising the gasoline tax, saying: "I don't think that's likely to happen, but that's my preferred alternative". If you are a regular Green Blog reader you probably know by now that I am a big supporter of high gasoline taxes. I think it’s a great and easy way to encourage more people to use carpools, take public transportations or bike to work etc. Of course the taxes generated should help pay for something else in return for a higher gasoline tax. This way people and families don’t end up loosing any money and there won' be so much criticism about rising fuel costs.

Gore also, somewhat, defended developing nations such as China and India:

"China and India and other developing countries all have exactly the same excuse for not moving on the climate crisis. They say, the United States hasn't done anything. When the U.S. acts it will be by far the most effective way to improve the odds that China and India and other smaller developing economies will also act. They know that it's in their own interest to tackle this problem."

Gore especially defended China saying the country "is now actively preparing a version of cap-and-trade legislation" and that "their top leaders appear to get it". Other things Gore mentioned in the interview were that China has "the largest tree-planting program in the world. They are actively building solar and wind and exploring carbon capture and sequestration".

But according to Gore these countries "are not doing enough by a long shot [but] the way to encourage them to do more is … for the United States to take the lead".

Gore also continued to criticize the "clean coal" lie that the fossil companies are foolishly trying to sell to the public and politicians. Gore said in the interview that "clean coal" uses "technology that does not yet exist", and that "we cannot allow an illusion to be the basis of a strategy for human survival".

You can read the whole interview here.

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