Tag Archives: Al Gore

The Alliance: Roots of Industry’s Greening

The plaque in the foyer announces Alcade & Fay. The view out of the 8th story high-rise in Arlington, Virginia is urban. Interviewing Kevin Fay for a short film about the fight to protect the ozone is a treat. He brings 25 years of perspective as an industry representative, who has wrangled corporate interests toward environmental responsibility. He was the initial leader of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy. In the 1980s, he helped coordinate a united business front as American industry was struggling to find substitutes for dangerous ozone-depleting compounds. As American industry got behind the idea of a phaseout, the Alliance played a key role in supporting the EPA’s recommendations. Ultimately, Ronald Reagan (!) greenlighted a 95% phase-out approach and 50% initial phase-out. I’m starting to discover that there’s a lot of this sort of counterintuitive stuff in the drama of saving the ozone. . .

Currently, as the Executive Director of the International Climate Change Partnership, Fay continues to fight the good fight—but on climate issue. Off camera, he shared an astounding insight into the roots of America’s stumbling policy leadership on climate. After the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated and opened for signature in November 1997, the Clinton Administration had several years opportunity to make the landmark international treaty an early success in the US. But with Clinton’s Lewinsky difficulties and Gore’s move toward the center to position himself for the Presidential election, nobody in the White House championed it. As a result, no progress. No Kyoto. I wrote in this blog a couple months ago how much I loved Gore’s film, Inconvenient Truth. But I wonder: if he had worked more sincerely on the Kyoto Protocol when he had a chance, would climate news be so bad today?

Convenient Proof

What better time to inaugurate this commentary at the crossroads of documentary film and international relations than the day after the Oscars. And finally a documentary that moved people as much or more than the feature category. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim, won best doc feature: a great follow-up for this third-highest grossing documentary of all time. Even the Washington Post got in the act, spreading the love the “Goracle’s” way! And why not? After a bitter 2000, Gore could’ve gone a lot of directions. He took the high road. And at least in Washington DC where I live, the film’s message has become doctrine. Nobody’s disputing it. I just hope the film’s success helps pave the way for increasing American leadership in innovative climate policy. There’s a lot of great programs out there. We need to get moving on a number of them. And as for Al Gore: thanks, man, for sticking with it. We Americans love second acts.