Gore launches climate change ad campaign
Too few people are changing their lifestyles, environmentalists say, and too few politicians are acting.
Two words, more than any others, are apt to set climate-change skeptics' teeth a-grinding: "Al Gore."Skip to next paragraph
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The former vice president has been the front man on global warming – winning both an Academy Award and the Nobel Peace Prize last year in the process. The former vice president also refuses to publicly debate the issue with leading skeptics face to face.
" 'We can solve the climate crisis, but it will require a major shift in public opinion and engagement,' Gore said in a statement. 'The technologies exist, but our elected leaders don't yet have the political will to take the bold actions required. When politicians hear the American people calling loud and clear for change, they'll listen,' he said.
But generating that loud and clear vox populi requires a new approach, environmentalists say. As reported in USA Today:
" 'We've come up against a brick wall with Americans,' says Lee Bodner, executive director of ecoAmerica, an environmental group based in Washington, D.C. Despite Americans' widespread familiarity with global warming, 'only a small group are changing their behavior.' "
And as public anxiety grows about other domestic issues – the economy, the housing market, the cost of healthcare – this concern among activists (including Gore) that the issue is not getting the attention it deserves may be well founded.
Compared with Medicare, Social Security, and energy as sources of public apprehension, "Worry about global warming has declined somewhat in the minds of Americans over the past two years," according to a new study by the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress at New York University.
" 'Something's not getting through to the public" about climate change,' says study author Paul Light, a professor at NYU's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. 'You almost need a PhD to understand the cap-and-trade proposals floating around. Most Americans would guess that the term is about baseball, not climate change,' Light says."
Critics pooh-pooh Gore's new campaign as more of the same: alarmist pronouncements and unrealistic or ineffective steps. Steven Milloy, publisher of JunkScience.com and a columnist for FoxNews.com, opines in this way:
"On his public relations campaign's website, Gore urges the shuttering of coal-fired power plants, which provide 50 percent of US electricity needs; the adoption of so-called 'clean energy technologies' such as cost-inefficient solar and wind power and hybrid cars; energy efficiency, which only would reduce energy use by marginal amounts; and government mandates for not-ready-for-prime-time taxpayer-subsidized alternative energy sources...., Gore even calls for more sidewalks and bike paths – hardly a technological innovation that will provide measurably more energy with less emissions."