In an extraordinary outburst aimed at America's failure to tackle global warming, Al Gore says that if scientific agreement on the climate crisis had been reached sooner it would have been easier to "galvanise the public and persuade Congress to act".
The former presidential candidate claims that the stronger scientific consensus he knew was about to emerge meant "we in the US were about to shift into high gear in addressing the climate crisis". Mr Gore argues that if he had made it to the White House, he would have been able to use the office as a "bully pulpit" to achieve change.
"The nature and severity of the climate crisis had seemed painfully obvious to me for quite a long time," claims Mr Gore, writing in a new foreword to a revised edition of his book, Earth in the Balance, being published this week.
In a swipe at the scientific community, he says: "I wish that we could have had in the 1990s the deafening scientific consensus that has emerged in more recent years."
Mr Gore accuses his nemesis, President George Bush, of having taken "virtually no steps to address the problem. Worse, he and Vice President Cheney have led the nation in precisely the wrong direction."
He goes on to detail how the Bush administration reversed a pledge to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, pulled out of negotiations on the Kyoto treaty and replaced key scientific advisers with ones suggested by oil giant ExxonMobil.