Al Gore

SAN FRANCISCO — Al Gore announced Monday he's joining Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital firm to help the private sector take on global warming and perhaps make himself some money.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and former vice president joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as it and dozens of other venture firms headquartered in Silicon Valley expand beyond software, computer hardware, the Internet and biotechnology to so-called "clean-tech" investments worldwide.

In a phone interview Monday, Gore praised the private sector for innovations in alternative energy, particularly solar power. He said the public sector was "catching up."

Gore said political system can appear to move "at a snail's pace."

"But when it crosses a tipping point, it can move at lightning speed. We're feeling that gear shift occur right now, and ... we want to make sure the markets have the information and analytic systems in place to move at lightning speed," Gore said.

Gore, who starred in the Academy Award-winning global warming documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is also a senior adviser to Google Inc. and a member of the board at Apple Inc.

Gore promised to donate 100 percent of his salary as a Kleiner Perkins partner to the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Palo Alto-based think tank he founded to focus on accelerating policy solutions to the climate crisis.

The donation does not include stock options. Typically, a tiny fraction of a venture capitalist's compensation is salary; the vast majority of wealth comes from sale of stock options when the companies the firm invests in are sold to the public.

"It's one of the benefits of not being in the public sector anymore," Gore said with a laugh.

He wouldn't say how much Kleiner Perkins was paying him.

He follows former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who joined Kleiner Perkins as a part-time adviser two years ago.