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save perhaps political

As you work on your outline, and you look at the samples I gave you: Please consider your claims throughout the speech. They are arguable statements, which you will then expand on and support with evidence. You can see in the samples that I gave you that, in most cases, the writers crafted artful claims. They are not general and non-descript; for example, you would avoid something simplistic like this: The speaker did a good job with audience. Rather, the students in the samples (for the most part) introduced a specific argument about an aspect of the rhetorical situation, and then provided evidence to show it.

For your bibliography: You will need six sources, per the instructions. Keep in mind that you will need to show in your outline where you got your information.

You will read and analyze a speech using the rhetorical situation framework (audience, occasion, speaker, speech). You should identify each element in your framework, and then analyze and evaluate the speaker’s response to the situation.

It’s not solely on the topic. Your main focus is how the rhetoric managed the whole of the situation — which, obviously includes the topic, but don’t turn this into a separate persuasive speech on the topic. Keep in mind that the introduction and conclusion are good spots to address your own exigence.

In this analysis, you will provide an analysis of a public speech using Bitzer’s rhetorical situation as a critical lens. At any rate, your analysis should focus on the speech as a fitting response to the rhetorical situation, in terms of the exigence, the audience, and the constraints. Additionally, your analysis should inform us about the context of the speech by presenting sufficient historical background for the audience in class. Ultimately, you should present a clear and thoughtful argument about the speech.

How were the purposes of the speech fulfilled? Were the claims made in the speech valid and supported with evidence? What were the consequences or potential impact of the speech? How did the speech accommodate and make use of the constraints and resources afforded by the occasion, audience, speaker, and speech itself? In particular, what perspective do you bring to the analysis of the speech? What is the decisive, unique, or particularly effective appeal in the speech you are studying?

Be sure to fulfill all of the functions of the introduction and conclusion, to include transitions, and to provide a complete bibliography and endnotes in the style you are most familiar with (such as APA, MLA, or Chicago).

Identify your purpose, thesis, and supporting evidence.  Now, given the claims that you will make in your analysis about the constraints and resources of each element in the Rhetorical Situation, what are the reasoned arguments you can make about the ways the situation shaped the speech that responded to it?

Occasion: what argument can you make about the way the event, place, timing, or speaking opportunity shaped the speech?

Audience: what argument can you make about the way the beliefs and values, demographics, or shared experience of the audience shaped the speech?

Speaker: what argument can you make about the way the reputation, previous statements, background, or social position  shaped the speech?

Speech: what argument can you make about the way the internal dynamics of argumentation, structure, and language shaped the speech?

Provide support for the arguments in your analysis by drawing on what others say about the speech or about speeches like it. Include a minimum of six published sources cited orally in the speech, cited in the outline for your speech, and listed in the outline bibliography/Works Cited page. Four of the six sources must be scholarly (edited, peer-reviewed) publications. Journalistic sources, news-aggregators, and general web pages are not scholarly sources, but they can be used to provide factual information, historical background, audience characteristics and responses, or pertinent speaker biographies. The text of the speech you analyze is not a source: it is the object of your analysis. The textbook for this course is not a source. Remember, your purpose is not merely to provide historical and biographical facts in an informative analysis, but to use those facts to argue persuasively for the perspective that you are taking.

Rhetorical Situation Factors

The four basic factors that determine the success of any rhetorical situation: the audience, the occasion, the speaker, and the speech itself.

The audience

Unlike a poem or a novel, a speech is presented for a specific audience, and its success in achieving its goals depends on the reactions of those listeners. This is why audience analysis, discussed in Chapter 5, is so important. The audience helps

to create the rhetorical situation by affecting, among other things, your choice of what to emphasize in the speech, what level of knowledge to assume, how to organize the speech, and what your specific purpose will be.

Most speakers, most of the time, want to present their ideas in ways that achieve identification with the audience; that is, they try to find common ground between what they know about the audience and what they want to say.7 Without distorting their own message, they try to emphasize the elements that are most likely to strike a responsive chord among audience members.

Sometimes, though, a speaker may deliberately avoid identification with the au- dience and may even try to antagonize listeners. The same African American might point out that the American dream is not shared equally by all citizens. Such a tactic may suggest that the speaker is a person of high integrity who will not hold back punches simply to gain the audience’s approval. Or the strategy may be in- tended to influence some other audience that is overhearing the speech.8 Whether the goal is to identify or to criticize, however, knowledge of the audience is critical in assessing the rhetorical situation.

Sometimes, audience members are prepared to incorporate what the speaker says into their systems of beliefs. At other times they may be skeptical or down- right hostile. The degree of interference they offer to the speaker’s purpose is an important factor when assessing how the audience contributes to the nature of the rhetorical situation.

Audiences also provide important feedback. If listeners frown or stare blankly when you make an important point, they may not understand you. To respond to the rhetorical situation, you will want to explain that point further. If listeners appear lost, you may want to summarize your main points before moving on. If you’ve said something that you think is funny but no one laughs or smiles, you might either rephrase the comment or decide to let it pass. And when listeners nod supportively, you should feel more confident and reassured. Audience feedback will let you know whether you have assessed the rhetorical situation accurately and responded to it appropriately.

You can also get valuable feedback by placing yourself in the role of an audience member. If possible, review a video of your speech. At first, you may feel uncom- fortable watching a recording of yourself; you may be oversensitive to details that no one else would notice. But do not worry about these details. Instead, try to view yourself as the audience saw and heard you. Watching a video after the fact allows you a critical distance that helps you to assess aspects you can improve before giv- ing your next speech.

The occasion

The occasion is the place and event where the speech is given. It may be a community meeting, a classroom speech assignment, a business presentation, a local fundraising reception, an informal group gathering, or any other time and place where people assemble and relate to one another.

Some speech occasions are ceremonial (this is also known as epideictic, and is discussed in Chapter 16), such as presenting or accepting an award, introducing someone, delivering a eulogy, or commemorating an event. Others are primarily deliberative, such as making an oral report, delivering a sales presentation,

advocating a policy, or refuting another person’s argument. Ceremonial speaking focuses on the present and is usually concerned with what is praiseworthy in the subject. Deliberative speaking focuses on the future and is usually concerned with what should be done.

Many occasions combine ceremonial and deliberative elements. For example, a chief executive officer (CEO) who has been newly appointed in the wake of a fiscal scandal in the company will likely have to speak to the company’s employees and stockholders. The occasion is deliberative in that the CEO speaks about the state and the direction of the company in light of the financial circumstances. The occa- sion is also ceremonial, though, because the CEO’s presence demonstrates both a new chapter in the company’s history and a personal interest in the well-being of the workers and stockholders, and also because the speech seeks to reassure and reaffirm the company’s dedication to employees and investors.

Similarly, the president’s State of the Union address is a ceremonial ritual pre- scribed by the U.S. Constitution. But, especially in recent years, it’s the occasion when the president is expected to persuade the public to support, and the Con- gress to enact, the administration’s legislative proposals. This expectation makes the State of the Union a deliberative occasion as well.

A third category of speech occasion, traditionally known as forensic, is con- cerned with rendering judgments about events in the past. Although this is the dominant form of speaking in courts of law, it plays only a small role in public speaking elsewhere.

Whatever the occasion, the audience arrives with ideas about what is and what is not appropriate behavior. Such expectations have developed over time, and they limit what a speaker can do in responding to the rhetorical situation. For example, listeners expect a eulogy to offer a favorable view of the deceased, and they nor- mally would think it inappropriate for a speaker to dwell on the person’s failings. On the other hand, an after-dinner speech is usually expected to be lighthearted; a speaker who instead presents a highly technical lecture would not be responding appropriately to the occasion.

Simultaneous events further define the occasion. For example, the fact that a presidential campaign is under way helps to define the occasion for a speech about health care reform. The retirement of a popular athlete helps to set the stage for a speech about retirement trends in industry. And if listeners only last week were urged to give up tobacco, that may affect their judgments about a speech that now asks them to give up red meat.

Another way to think about the occasion is to note that it presents the speaker with an exigence—a problem that cannot be avoided but that can be solved, or at least managed, through the development of an appropriate message. Of course, the exigence is not always clear-cut. In designing the speech, often the speaker will play a major role in describing what the exigence is. In any event, satisfactorily ad- dressing the exigence is the goal of the speech.

“A commencement speech about school reform, delivered at Western State Univer- sity in June 2013”is an example of an occasion; “growing unease about the quality of public education”is the rhetorical situation to which this speech was a response. The speech responds to the rhetorical situation of growing unease among people about the quality of public education, but the expectation that a commencement speech will inspire the graduates also helps to define the rhetorical situation.

Each type of occasion raises certain expectations about what is appropriate be- havior, and these expectations help to define the rhetorical situation. For example, if an engineer is presenting the features of a new product to the marketing group, everyone will be focused on the product’s best features and how to make them more salable. The occasion will be deliberative. Unlike a ceremonial occasion, it will not emphasize good wishes or feelings about the product or the staff. And unlike a forensic occasion, it will not concentrate on the company’s past sales perormance with other products. Rather, the focus will be on how best to design the new product to achieve a strong sales record in the future.

The speaker

The same speech delivered by different speakers can produce quite different re- actions and effects.Your interest in the subject—as made evident through voice, delivery, and the vividness of your imagery—helps to determine how the audience will react to the speech.Your ethos affects whether listeners will pay attention and will regard you as believable. Fortunately, many of the skills that enable speakers to contribute positively to a rhetorical situation can be learned. Previous public speaking experience will also affect your comfort level, and the ability to respond to audience feedback will make you more flexible in any rhetorical situation.

Speakers have a purpose in mind. The three most general purposes of speeches are to inform, to persuade, and to entertain.

• Informing provides listeners with new information or ideas. • Persuading influences listeners’ attitudes and behavior (either to strengthen

existing beliefs or to support new ones).

• Entertaining stimulates a sense of community by celebrating common bonds among speaker and listeners.

Although these general purposes may seem to be completely separate, they often coexist in a single speech—as when a speaker aims both to share new information and also to use that information to influence attitudes and behavior (or to stimulate a sense of community). For this reason, in Chapter 6 we will classify purposes in a more detailed way. For now, though, focus on the general purposes and realize that you must have (1) something about which to inform the audience, (2) some position you want to persuade them to take, or (3) some subject with which to entertain them. Therefore any speaker also has one or more specific purposes. Here are some examples:

GENERAL PURPOSE: SPECIFIC PURPOSE:

GENERAL PURPOSE: SPECIFIC PURPOSE:

GENERAL PURPOSE: SPECIFIC PURPOSE:

Informing Explaining the main steps in the construction of the college library.

Persuading Urging listeners to endorse the president’s economic proposals and to send supportive e-mails to the president and our elected officials.

Entertaining “Roasting” the boss on the eve of her retirement.

12 Chapter 1 Welcome to Public Speaking

if an engineer is presenting the features of a new product to the marketing group, everyone will be focused on the product’s best features and how to make them more salable. The occasion will be deliberative. Unlike a ceremonial occasion, it will not emphasize good wishes or feelings about the product or the staff. And unlike a forensic occasion, it will not concentrate on the company’s past sales per- formance with other products. Rather, the focus will be on how best to design the new product to achieve a strong sales record in the future.

the speaker

The same speech delivered by different speakers can produce quite different re- actions and effects.Your interest in the subject—as made evident through voice, delivery, and the vividness of your imagery—helps to determine how the audi- ence will react to the speech.Your ethos affects whether listeners will pay atten- tion and will regard you as believable. Fortunately, many of the skills that enable speakers to contribute positively to a rhetorical situation can be learned. Previ- ous public speaking experience will also affect your comfort level, and the ability to respond to audience feedback will make you more flexible in any rhetorical situation.

Speakers have a purpose in mind. The three most general purposes of speeches are to inform, to persuade, and to entertain.

• Informing provides listeners with new information or ideas. • Persuading influences listeners’ attitudes and behavior (either to strengthen

existing beliefs or to support new ones).

• Entertaining stimulates a sense of community by celebrating common bonds among speaker and listeners.

Although these general purposes may seem to be completely separate, they of- ten coexist in a single speech—as when a speaker aims both to share new infor- mation and also to use that information to influence attitudes and behavior (or to stimulate a sense of community). For this reason, in Chapter 6 we will classify pur- poses in a more detailed way. For now, though, focus on the general purposes and realize that you must have (1) something about which to inform the audience, (2) some position you want to persuade them to take, or (3) some subject with which to entertain them. Therefore any speaker also has one or more specific purposes. Here are some examples:

In each case, the specific purpose is the standard to use in deciding whether the speaker achieved the goal and responded adequately to the rhetorical situation.

By this standard, good speeches are ones in which the speaker achieved the purpose; bad speeches are those in which the speaker did not.Yet clearly this standard is not enough. We do not want to regard as good a speech that misleads or manipulates the audience, even if it achieves the speaker’s purpose. And if the speaker’s purpose itself is unworthy—such as reinforcing negative cultural or racial stereotypes, for instance—we would evaluate the speech harshly even if it does achieve the speaker’s purpose.

the speech

Although we tend to think of the situation as something to which the speech re- sponds, the message itself also works to shape the situation. Before Katie Jacobson spoke about crime on campus, her audience thought it was a problem for the cam- pus police to solve, but during the speech, they began to see campus crime as a problem that called for individuals to take responsibility for the solution. The mes- sage had redefined the situation.

In most cases, an audience’s understanding of a situation can be improved by a speech that is organized effectively, that includes interesting examples and memorable phrases, and that is presented enthusiastically. Although many fac- tors determine whether a speech responds successfully to a rhetorical situation, by understanding the basic factors involved you can better shape your message as a speaker and can participate more fully as a listener.

Constraints and Opportunities

Your speech not only responds to the situation but also modifies it. In doing that, you face opportunities as well as constraints.Your goal is to devise a strategy—a plan of action—that will respond to the constraints and take advantage of the opportunities.

Similarly, when you give a speech in class, your rhetorical situation is influenced by the audience and by the values its members hold. These are your situation’s constraints. At the same time, you have the opportunity to modify listeners’ beliefs and values by what you say.

Since ancient times, a speaker’s opportunities—the speech elements about which the speaker can make choices—have been grouped under five major headings:

• Invention is the generation of materials for the speech.You produce (or “invent,”to use the rhetorical term) these materials through a combination of analysis, research, and judgment.You begin by identifying what could go intothe speech, then you conduct research to determine what ideas are support- able, and then you select the most effective materials for your purpose and audience.

• Arrangement is the structuring of ideas and materials in the speech. This includes the organization of materials for each main idea, the ordering and connecting of main ideas within the body of the speech, and the overall structure of the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.

• Style is the distinctive character that may make a speech recognizable or memorable. Style is achieved primarily through language, and it reflects the speaker’s awareness of how language can be used both to “show”and to “tell”—both to evoke emotions and to convey descriptive meaning.

• Delivery is the presentation of the speech. Whereas the preceding activi- ties are performed by the speaker alone, delivery involves actually sharing the message with the audience. Skillful delivery involves the effective use of voice, gesture, facial expression, physical movement, and visual aids.

• Memory was an extremely important category of skills at a time when most speeches were memorized. Today, however, most speakers use ei- ther extemporaneous presentation (referring to an outline) or manu- script presentation (reading a written script). Even so, some dimensions of memory are still very important—for example, keeping track of main ideas, phrasing ideas so that listeners will remember them, and precisely wording an effective introduction and conclusion. Memory skills also are critical in rehearsing your speech mentally and in practicing it aloud be- fore presentation.

Al Gore

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture

delivered 10 December 2007, Oslo, Norway

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen:

I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.

Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention — dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace. Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.

Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken — if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious, if painful, gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose. Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, “We must act.”

The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures — a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: “Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”¹

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency — a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst — though not all — of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively, and quickly.

However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchillapplied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat (and I quote): “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”

So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing distress, is that something basic is wrong.

We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.

Last September 21st, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented alarm that the North Polar ice cap is in their words: “falling off a cliff.” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years. Seven years from now.

In the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia, are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the frozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of places they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half million people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency that almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have migrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures, religions, and traditions — increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger storms in the Atlantic and the Pacific have threatened whole cities. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in Africa. As temperature extremes have increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.

We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and natural gas.

Even in Nobel’s time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One of the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that — in his words — “We are evaporating our coal mines into the air.” After performing 10,000 equations by hand, Svante Arrheniuscalculated that the earth’s average temperature would increase by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Seventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling, began to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day. But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless — which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented; and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.

We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet asGeorge Orwell reminds us: “Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against a solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”²

In the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions. Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth’s climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: “Mutually assured destruction.” More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a “nuclear winter.” Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world’s resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.

Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent “carbon summer.” As the American poet Robert Frost wrote,” Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice.” Either, he notes, “would suffice.”³

But neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet.

We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope, and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal struggle. These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real, not imminent; that it would afflict others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of ordinary — extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves. No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity, and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong.

Now comes the threat of climate crisis — a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now, we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?

Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called “Satyagraha” — or “truth force.” In every land, the truth — once known — has the power to set us free. Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between “me” and “we,” creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly. We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step “ism.” That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously.

This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun’s energy for pennies or invent an engine that’s carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.

When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy Japan, Germany, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, “It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship.”4

In the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown of 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee, in the USA. Cordell Hullwas described by Franklin Roosevelt as the “Father of the United Nations.” He was an inspiration and hero to my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in his commitment to world peace and global cooperation. My parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration. Eight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was when I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the same prize that Cordell Hull had won. In that moment, I knew what my father and mother would have felt were they alive.

Just as Hull’s generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world crisis caused by fascism, so can we find our greatest opportunity in — in rising to solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, “crisis” is written with two symbols, the first meaning “danger,” the second “opportunity.” By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored. We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.

Fifteen years ago, I made that case at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.

This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 — two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself. Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until this treaty is completed. We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide. And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon — with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.

The world now needs an alliance — especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they’ve taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.

But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — and most of all, my own country — that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act. Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.

These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish to redeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths: The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe to be feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow. That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, “Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk.”

We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path.

So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures — each a palpable possibility — and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now. The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, “One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door.” The future is knocking at our door right now.

Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: “What were you thinking; why didn’t you act?” Or they will ask instead: “How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?”

We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource. So let us renew it, and let us say together:

“We have a purpose.

We are many.

For this purpose we will rise,

and we will act.”

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/algorenobellecture.htm

 

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