Countries that try to save environment will save, not lose, money, Gore says in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Poorer countries that have borne the brunt of climate change's effects will save, not lose, money by putting in place ways to rescue the environment, Al Gore said Tuesday.

The former U.S. vice president spoke to a forum in Manila in one of his first public engagements since he and wife, Tipper, announced they had separated after 40 years of marriage. He refused to answer audience questions about it, and reporters did not have an opportunity for interviews.

In the lecture focused on Asia, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate blamed global warming for droughts and frequent and more destructive typhoons, including those that have left millions homeless in India, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.

"When there are lots of them, much more frequently and they are bigger on average how can we connect those dots?" he asked. "How long will it take us as a civilization to connect those dots in a way that causes us to demand that our political leaders and political systems react?"

Gore said proposals to store carbon dioxide in the ground are expensive, and the best way is to trap them is in plants. He added that China is a leader in this area, planting more trees than any other country.

"A lot of the most effective ways of saving the environment actually save money," he said during the open forum. "They don't cost money, they save money."

Making vehicle engines more efficient, for example, can save money and gasoline — 90 percent of which is wasted in vehicles that have inefficient engines, he said.

Businesses that have gone green have found that they can save a lot of money, he added.

While not discussing his marriage, Gore did mention his family, saying that his son's near-fatal accident in 1989 caused him to realize that people have taken the earth for granted. "I found in that raw place in my heart an ability to feel for the first time that we could lose this and it's worth fighting for," he added.

The audience included outgoing Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — whom Gore met on the sideline of the forum — as well as business and political leaders.