Though he’s the single person most associated with climate change, over the last couple of years Al Gore had kept a somewhat lower public profile on the issue. It’s not that the former Vice President disappeared entirely—he continued advocacy work through his Alliance for Climate Protection, testified on climate science at Congress and came out with a new environmental book in 2009 called Our Choice. But over the last two years we’ve seen less of Gore on climate change—especially in the media.
Well, Al Gore is definitely back. Last month Gore wrote a 7,000 word essay for Rolling Stone criticizing the media, industry, Republicans and even President Obama for failing to act on climate change, for refusing acknowledge—and sometimes outright deny—the reality of climate science. He released a new version of Our Choice as an app—making publishing history along the way. And today Gore announced the rebranding of his Alliance for Climate Protection—it will now be known as the Climate Reality Project—as well as a new campaign designed to bring home the message that climate change is real and happening right now. That effort will begin what Gore is calling the 24 Hours of Reality, a livestreamed event happening on September 14 and 15.
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Gore described the campaign to Joe Romm at Climate Progress:
It will cover a 24-hour period. And I’m preparing a brand new 30 minute multimedia presentation. A keynote slideshow with video and other feature that will focus in part on the connection between the extreme weather events all around the world and the climate crisis. And it will begin on September 14th, in prime time, central time zone from Mexico City, and then it will move West to the next time zone over, and continue through all 24 time zones, ending the following evening, in prime time, in New York City where I will give the last of the 24 presentations.
Each site where a presentation originates will have basically the same 30 minute slide show, but with slides used in each time zone that illustrate particular impacts and particular efforts towards solutions at the venue representing than that time zone. And then the second thirty minutes of each hour will include a panel discussion focused on the climate crisis and the solutions to it from the perspective of leaders and scientists and others in that particular location. So it will be a 24-hour event.
The video trailer from the Climate Reality Project has more detail:
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The new campaign will focus on what Gore calls the “climate crisis”—his preferred term—and will seek to connect the dots between extreme weather and global warming. But Gore’s argument—and his point of attack—hasn’t really changed. He’s still set on disseminating the science, as he told Romm:
If we keep focusing on that reality, it is only a matter of time before we reach a tipping point with the public, beyond which inaction is no longer an option.
As I wrote in a blog post commenting on Gore’s Rolling Stone essay, I’m not so sure he’s right. Climate change may indeed have a tipping point—and we may be hurtling past it even now—but there’s not much evidence to suggest that more information about climate science what’s needed to finally galvanize the public on climate change. It’s true that connections need to be made between the wild weather happening on the planet today, and the influence of climate change—see this three-part series on the issue from Scientific American. But we’re still stuck on policy—what to actually do about climate change, aside from being worried about it—and I’m not sure Gore’s approach will be effective on that question. Nonetheless, it’s still good to see a veteran climate warrior staying in the fight—and I’m sure I’ll tune in (log in?) September 14.
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