Former US Vice President Al Gore has praised members of the global wine trade for focusing on climate change and taking steps to understand and tackle the issues.

Addressing the second Wine and Climate Change conference in Barcelona live by video link from Kentucky, USA, Gore said the wine industry had shown admirable initiative in a relatively short time.

‘I know what it was like two years ago when many were not willing to acknowledge the reality of this climate crisis and provide leadership to solve it,’ he said.

Gore – who was number 48 in Decanter’s July 2007 Power List – said Europe had already begun to experience the unpredictable and often extreme weather conditions attributed to global warming – in the form of more frequent major storms, floods, heat waves and droughts.

Mentioning some wineries’ strategies to switch to cleaner energy and implement carbon neutrality or offset policies as examples of good practice, Gore warned that much more needed to be done.

‘To those who are in your industry and not participating in this meeting, I would like you to deliver a message: they really must respond to this crisis. It is here now and it is growing.’

Gore emphasised the importance of monetising carbon dioxide via national taxes, caps and tradeable emissions credit instruments.

‘We are not currently putting a price on the horrible destruction that carbon is causing,’ he said.

‘The things we measure get more attention than the things we don’t measure. So C02 has historically been treated as irrelevant.’

Gore said he could not think of any industry that ‘stands out as a hero in this crisis’. While deriding the coal, oil and auto industries for their general lack of coalescence, he said there were individual countries and companies worthy of praise.

He singled out Norway for imposing a carbon tax on oil and gas companies operating within its waters, and BP for its carbon capture and storage programme in the Salah gas fields in Algeria.

‘Once we accept the challenge of the crisis and that it must be solved, we have to summon the poltical will to change it,’ he said.

‘It means bringing about change in every industry – I wish every industry was doing what you are – I wish the auto and oil industries would do more, and more quickly.’

Gore said there would soon be a sequel to his climate change documentary film ‘A Convenient Truth’.

Written by Maggie Rosen