Al Gore Slams Obama, Calls Arctic Drilling Plan ‘Insane’ [Report]

In a scathing interview with the Guardian, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore slammed Barack Obama’s Arctic drilling plan, describing the venture as being insane.

“I think Arctic drilling is insane. I think that countries around the world would be very well advised to put restrictions on drilling for oil in the Arctic ocean,” Gore said. “I think the Deepwater Horizon spill was warning enough. The conditions are so hostile for human activity there. I think it’s a mistake to drill for oil in the Arctic. I think that ought to be banned.”

According to the International Business Times, Royal Dutch Shell will once again begin drilling in Alaska’s Arctic waters in a few days. The Obama administration gave Shell conditional approval to resume drilling, so long as it complies with federal restrictions and oversight.

While Gore criticized the plan, he also offered up support to Obama’s environmental efforts. However, he did express his views on the president’s handling with the oil, gas, and coal industries, saying he should impose stricter policies.

“I think he is doing essentially a very good job but on the fossil fuel side I would certainly be happier if he was not allowing so much activity like the Arctic drilling permit and the large amounts of coal extracted from public lands,” Gore said.

Gore and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon insisted that the fight against climate change will boost the world economy, despite the views of opponents who fear the abandonment of fossil fuels will threaten markets.

During the recent Summit of the Americas conference in Toronto, both former leaders tried to contradict the notion that it is imperative to choose between economy and environment.

“We’re seeing in some of the states and provinces reductions in (carbon dioxide) emissions accompanied by economic growth surging,” said Gore to the hundred delegates personally invited to hear his speech at the Climate Summit of the Americas.

Felipe Calderón also voiced his support for Gore’s stance on the environmental policy.

“Sweden increased more than 50 per cent its economic growth and reduced almost 25 per cent its carbon emissions related to 1990,” Calderon explained. “For the first time in 40 years at the global level, the GDP of the world increased almost three per cent and the emissions didn’t grow — in other words we started to decarbonize the economic growth.”

According to Calderon, who is chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, companies must radically change their ways. He said companies need to abandon the use of fossil fuels, stop deforestation, build better cities, and modernize infrastructures to make them more environmentally friendly.

[Image via Brian Kersey / Getty Images News]