Al Gore was in Seattle Friday. Said economic meltdown is huge business opportunity.

Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Academy Award winner, author and oh yeah, former vice president of the U.S.A…. was in town on Friday at a fundraiser for Gov. Chris Gregoire. I was lucky enough to see him speak, along with a room full of Gregoire donors who paid at least $150 for their tickets.

Gore said the U.S. needs to get off foreign oil and onto renewable resources. He said Washington leads the nation and the world in this endeavor. He said we need to re-elect Gregoire. Nothing particularly earth shattering, except for the fact that he was saying it.

Then again, he did describe oil as another sub-prime asset, and said while the current economic conditions are dangerous, there is also opportunity. “It’s the biggest business and jobs opportunity in the history of the world economically.”

And where should those jobs and opportunities be concentrated? WASHINGTON my friends. Gore said he points to Washington as a leader in his lectures, both nationally and globally.

But the oil and coal age won’t end when we run out of oil, Gore said. Instead, it will end when “we come to our senses” and develop energy infrastructure based on solar and wind sources.

It also turns out he has a long relationship with this state and greatly admires it – heck, he’s climbed Mt. Rainier, Christmas shopped here, fished here and is oldskool buddies with Rep. Norm Dicks. In fact, none of this state’s flatterers mean it as much as he does, according to Gore. 

As a speaker, Gore was sporadically funny, connecting with the audience and drawing huge rounds of applause that drowned out his microphoned voice. Then again, the audience wasn’t exactly impartial. It’s also obvious that Gore speaks pretty frequently and he is so comfortable in the post he doesn’t really need to write a speech anymore, he can just talk.

Unfortunately for me, Gore never mentioned green buildings. He mentioned solar and wind energy, but that’s the closest it came to making my heart go pitter-patter. For substantive green building discussions, I guess I’ll have to stick with our local lectures. At least there’s lot’s to choose from!

If you want more information on what he spoke about, the Northwest Progressive Institute Blog has a nice rundown. Xconomy Seattle also has a nice post about what else Gore was doing in our great city here.

Do you think the current economic crisis will affect green buildings? Answer my poll at right, if you haven’t already.