18 Jul 2008

Gore challenges Americans to ditch fossil fuels

6:17 pm on 18 July 2008

The Nobel laureate Al Gore has urged Americans to abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels within a decade.

The former United States vice-president compared the scale of the challenge to that of putting a man on the moon in the 1960s.

He said it did not make sense that the US was borrowing money from China to burn oil from the Middle East which then contributed to climate change.

But critics say weaning the US off fossil fuels is not possible within a decade.

Mr Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his work on climate change, insists his goal is achievable and affordable.

"The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels," he says.

"When you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices."

Doubts expressed

Mr Gore's ambitious plan would still rely on nuclear energy for a fifth of America's energy needs. Many see the goal as unachievable.

President of the think tank, Securing America's Future Energy, Robby Diamond said weaning the nation off fossil fuels could not be done in a decade.

"The country is not going to be able to go cold turkey," he says.

"We have a hundred years of infrastructure with trillions of dollars of investment that is not simply going to be made obsolete."