Al Gore video chats with UC Berkeley students

Former Vice President Al Gore spoke to law students through video chat on the topics  of energy usage and the environment.
Levy Yun/Staff
Former Vice President Al Gore spoke to law students through video chat on the topics of energy usage and the environment.

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Former vice president Al Gore spoke to a class of about 25 students via video chat Monday morning at the UC Berkeley School of Law about renewable energy and climate change issues.

Gore dialed into the class, which focuses on renewable energy methods and policy that will aid the planet and the economy, at approximately 8:10 a.m. and lectured for about 30 minutes on energy issues before opening up the floor for a 30-minute discussion with students.

The class is co-taught by Steve Weissman, lecturer and director of the Energy Program in the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, and Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan and talk show host. The class is composed of graduate students from multiple fields, not just the law school.

Gore began the lecture by complimenting students on their participation and interest in renewable energy resources.

Before jumping into the jargon of biofuels and biomass, the class topic for the week, Gore gave students a tour of his office filled with papers and stacked books, even adjusting the camera to show students his in-office basketball hoop.

During the lecture, Gore stated that because humans have had a growing reliance on carbon-based fuels in the past 150 years, “we have a hell of a challenge in shifting our fuel base.” Throughout his lecture, Gore remained optimistic about the future of renewable energy, addressing topics such as population, technology and alternative fuels.

According to second-year law student Nathan Damweber, lectures like these from policymakers are helpful for students who are not specifically going into the academic field but are seeking the experiences of professionals with real-world experience.

The class is currently working on a project in which students must create an energy renewal policy for a specific state. Eventually, the students will weave together the individual state policies they have created into six regional policies and then finally national policies, according to Damweber.

According to third-year graduate student in the Goldman School of Public Policy David Featherman, the project focuses on having the states rather than the federal government take the lead on pushing forward with energy policy. In his lecture, Gore expressed that this was a valid approach to a solution.