What a difference a few years makes. Last time he was on Capital Hill, Al Gore had to formally swear in George Bush who had just beaten him in the battle for the White House.
Yesterday Gore returned to talk about climate change. He is a changed man. Gore’s film An Inconvenient truth has not only brought the dangers of climate change to the masses, but it has enhanced his image too. No longer Mr Wooden Top, he is now more emotional, a Hollywood celebrity, with an Oscar to boot.
Yesterday was a politically charged affair. “I want to testify today about what I believe is a planetary emergency a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilisation and the habitability of the Earth,” Gore told a joint meeting of two House committees. He warned of a “planetary emergency.”
“The planet has a fever,” Gore continued. “If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say, ‘Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it’s not a problem’.”
After appearing before the House committees, Mr Gore took his message to the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee where he encountered a long-time opponent, Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma who has described Mr Gore as “full of crap” and has dismissed climate change concern as a hoax.
Here we have to politicians who typify different eras. Inhofe is a die-hard Republican whose time is in the past, and Gore’s whose moment has come. Will he run in 2008? There will be many who hope he will.