gorespeech.jpgThis just in:  Al Gore is joining forces with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a new venture to promote clean energy technologies.  From Fortune (via CNN):

…Gore appears utterly comfortable with this drill, but in fact he’s engaging in some on-the-job training. The recovering politician, environmental activist, and Nobel laureate is adding another title to his résumé: venture capitalist. After “a conversation that’s gone on for a year and a half,” according to Gore, he has decided to join his old pal John Doerr as an active, hands-on partner at Kleiner Perkins, Silicon Valley’s preeminent venture firm….

According to Doerr, by 2009 more than a third of Kleiner’s latest fund, which was raised in 2006 and totals $600 million, will be invested in technologies that aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Already Kleiner has invested more than $270 million from various funds in 26 companies that make everything from microbes that scrub old oil wells to electric cars to noncorn ethanol. Twelve of Kleiner’s 22 partners now spend some or all of their time on green investments.

In turn, Doerr, the master networker whose greatest hits include initial investments in Netscape, Amazon (Charts, Fortune 500), and Google (Charts, Fortune 500), will join the exclusive advisory board of Generation Investment Management. That’s the $1 billion investment company Gore started three years ago in London with David Blood, the former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, to analyze and invest in publicly traded “sustainable” companies. Over the past five weeks Gore, Doerr, and Blood agreed to give Fortune an exclusive look at their new alliance.

Already they’ve begun to pool information. Generation came across a small company engaged in carbon trading that Kleiner is analyzing, and Kleiner has shared intelligence about which startups could threaten the established companies in Generation’s portfolio. In the long term, though, they want to help drive something much larger, “bigger than the Industrial Revolution and significantly faster,” as Gore puts it.

They argue that to halt global warming, nothing less will be required than a makeover of the $6 trillion global energy business. Coal plants, gas stations, the internal-combustion engine, petrochemicals, plastic bags, even bottled water will have to give way to clean, green, sustainable technologies. “What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project, and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally,” Gore continues. “It’d be promising too much to say we can do it on our own, but we intend to do our part.”

So that pretty much answers the lingering questions about “will he or won’t he,” doesn’t it?  

(Photo via AlexdeCarvalho.)