By SARAH LYALL
Published: December 11, 2007OSLO, Dec. 10 — He has said it over and over again, in increasingly somber and urgent terms, to anyone who would listen. But former Vice President Al Gore used the occasion of his Nobel Peace Prize lecture here today to proclaim it to the world: climate change is a "planetary emergency," he said — a "real, rising, imminent and universal" threat to Earth's very survival.
"We still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this," Mr. Gore said: "Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?"
The Bush administration has refused to support the Kyoto Protocol. In an interview with The Associated Press before the speech today, Mr. Gore said that American political leadership would have to seriously engage with climate change.
"The new president, whichever party wins the election, is likely to have to change the position on this climate crisis," Mr. Gore was quoted as saying. "I do believe the U.S., soon, is to have a more constructive role."
Mr. Gore, in his speech, said humanity had begun to wage war on the earth itself.
"It's time to make peace with the planet," he said in the acceptance ceremony in Oslo's city hall. "We must quickly mobilize our civilization." He added: "Something basic is wrong. We are what is wrong and we must make it right."
He referred to or quoted several major world and literary figures such as George Orwell, Ghandi, Robert Frost, and Ibsen, and gave a litany of the world's environmental problems including cities that were running out of water, wild fires and temperature extremes.
Quoting Orwell, he said that "sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality."
Mr. Gore said there was still time for humanity to save the planet. Whether it was successful, he said, would depend on whether nations could summon the political will to make the necessary sacrifices, and singled out the United States and China in particular for not doing enough to cut pollution.