Gore: Improve economy, national security and environment with green building
Green construction will do much more than reduce emissions and better the environment; it will also make the United States more secure and improve the economy, according to former Vice President Al Gore, Nobel Laureate, and author. Gore spoke Nov. 11 during the opening keynote and celebration of the Greenbuild National Conference and Expo in Phoenix.
“We have a climate crisis at the same time we have an economic crisis and a national security crisis,” Gore said to thousands of attendees during the opening session, held at Chase Field in Phoenix. “And green building is good for us economically. This is good for our national security. It’s good for our environment.”
Old, inefficient buildings are a major cause of global warming, Gore said. Investments in green building to renovate old structures and build new and better structures are necessary to protect the environment for future generations.
In the short term, investments in green building and the creation of green jobs would help the country get out of its current economic state, he said. “We need to make green buildings, build windmills, install solar panels,” he said. “These infrastructure investments are the best ways to put people to work.”
Additionally, Gore said serious investments in green building, sustainability and renewable energy will reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil, thus improving national security. “How can we protect national security? By becoming less dependent on foreign oil and on carbon based fuels,” he said. “If you want to see higher energy prices, just wait for OPEC to raise them. When they feel us developing some political will—toward energy efficiency technologies—that’s when the prices come down.”
Gore continued that the world’s dwindling oil reserves are another major reason to change our energy habits. “The new discoveries for oil have been going down. Pumping and depletion of wells is going up. Demand in China, India and other places is going up rapidly,” he said. “This rollercoaster is headed for a crash and we’re in the front car. We’ve got to make up our minds to make a change.”
To ensure continued growth in green building, Gore said the construction industry needs to ensure that environmental standards and building codes remain high, and citizens need to push lawmakers for national legislation and tax incentives. “We should not be putting the burden on the homeowner to put all the money in up front for something that is going to be good for the country,” Gore said. “There is legislation pending right now that will provide these incentives, and as citizens, we have to speak out.”