Former president Al Gore presents a SXSW Interactive 2015 talk on climate change on Friday, March 13. Credit: Rodolfo Gonzalez

Date/time: 11 a.m. Friday

Presenter: Former president Al Gore

 The gist: Is SXSW’s relationship with Al Gore cooling? In his third appearance at the festival, the former vice president spoke on a Friday morning session opening the festival after fest director Hugh Forrest’s welcome. The crowd was smaller than his previous appearances in the big Exhibit Hall 5 room of the Austin Convention Center. But those who attended got a convincing talk on why climate change matters from Gore, including his trademark slides and scary videos of the worldwide consequences. But Gore also offered some hope, suggesting that technologists and business leaders are making strides to address the crisis.

Takeaways: Last year was the hottest year ever measured. The last 14 years have been among the hottest on record. But it’s not all gloom and doom. The costs and production of solar and other eco-friendly technologies are increasing exponentially. Gore gave a shout-out to Pope Francis, who will be delivering a talk on climate change in June, he said. He encouraged the audience to fight denial of climate change, get involved and speak up. Quote: “The age of renewables is beginning.” – Gore 

Session hashtag: #climate