Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Gore to Silicon Valley: You can save this civilization

Speaking at an economic forum in San Jose, Calif., former vice president says climate crisis is a business opportunity for technology pioneers. Video: Gore on a campaign "more important" than presidential

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
3 min read
SAN JOSE, Calif.--A new scientific report on global warming should remove any doubts that the climate crisis is fact and that humans are largely to blame, former Vice President Al Gore said Friday, urging Silicon Valley to take the lead in solving the problem.

"Today is a day to let the science speak for itself," he said at the State of the Valley economic conference held in San Jose and sponsored by the Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network. "It's as close to certain as scientists are ever willing to say."

Click here to Play

Video: Al Gore: Silicon Valley can save Earth
Former Vice President Al Gore says the investment and innovation that built the high-tech and biotech industries is now needed for green.

The report Gore referred to was released earlier on Friday in Paris and concluded that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human activities are the main culprit.

The crisis is unprecedented, with humans stretching the limits of earth's resources to dire consequences, he said. The evidence is everywhere--fish being fished to extinction, rising levels of carbon dioxide concentration depleting the ozone, overflowing waste dumps and polluted waters, earth and sky, he said.

This climate crisis presents business with its greatest opportunity ever, particularly Silicon Valley companies, Gore said.

"The work already done in information technology, computational science, biotechnology and other specialties that are present in this valley, more than any other place in the world, are going to be the most valuable resources" to combat the crisis, he said. "Just as information technology changed the world, clean tech and green tech right here based in Silicon Valley...you can chart the course and save the future of this civilization."

The Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network released an annual report at the conference, the Silicon Valley Index, which concluded that the economy in the area had recovered, with its first significant job increase since the dot-com bust about six years ago. The report also found that venture capital funding awarded to clean technology firms increased 266 percent last year, with investments of about $300 million by the third quarter alone.

"Technology is the key to giving us enough leverage to change the pattern that is now causing the climate crisis. The old and traditional patterns by which a new suite of technologies replace the old has to be examined and changed," he said. "Government policies can play a significant role, but the most significant role will be played here by you."

Gore, whose related documentary, An Inconvenient Truth was first screened a year ago, predicted that there will be time to avert total disaster. "We have enough time" to solve the climate crisis.

Asked why he thought the White House questioned the scientific report findings, Gore said, "It's not as if the oil lobby has too much influence in the White House. The problem is the oil lobby is the White House."

He also laid to rest any questions about whether he might be a presidential candidate again soon. "I don't have any plans to run for president. I'm involved in a different kind of campaign."