Written by Marilou van Golstein Brouwers
Ten years after he shook the world with his film An Inconvenient Truth, former US Vice President Al Gore felt it was the right time to reignite the momentum with An Inconvenient Sequel: Power to Truth. An exclusive screening of this new movie was organised by Phenix Capital and Triodos IM, together with partners from the investment world. It was screened for more than 300 clients and relations in movie theater Tuschinski in Amsterdam, and included a Q&A session featuring Al Gore himself.
Al Gore is an outspoken and deeply motivated ambassador, already for more than 50 years, in the fight against climate change. Although he admits we still have a long way to go, his message is an optimistic one. During the Q&A session after the film, Gore said “…the difference from 10 years ago is that we have the solutions now. Electricity from renewable energy will soon be cheaper – everywhere in the world – than electricity from fossil fuels”.
Over lunch, in a small group of eight people including Al Gore, we discussed the topic he cares about so deeply. A challenge of this magnitude requires strong cooperation between the public and private sectors. We talked about the introduction of true cost accounting – an accounting method that takes the ‘triple bottom line’ of social, environmental and economic impact of our activities into account – as a way to stimulate a sustainable economic system. The most essential and pressing measure in Gore’s opinion, however, is setting a universal carbon price high enough to provide a true incentive to reduce CO2 emissions.
About the role of investors – private and institutional alike – Gore is clear. Worldwide, there’s USD 28 trillion invested in fossil fuel reserves, of which the International Energy Agency estimates that two thirds will never be used. From a risk-return perspective this capital should be freed and put to better use, or it is lost. Even more important, according to Gore, is that investors should recognise the numerous opportunities that are presenting themselves, especially in renewable energy projects in emerging markets. Total solar capacity in these countries, for example, has more than tripled in the past three years thanks to cheaper clean energy.
Hope and inspiration
Like his first film An Inconvenient Truth, An Inconvenient Sequel has an alarming message and a strong sense of urgency. But whereas An Inconvenient Truth was mostly a strong warning, the sequel is also clearly a message of hope and inspiration. The film ends with a beautiful quote by American poet Wallace Stevens: “After the final no there comes a yes and on that yes the future world depends”.
The thunderous applause he received after the film and the Q&A session clearly shows that Al Gore struck a chord with the audience. I, for one, share his optimism that humanity will live up to the challenge of climate change.