Betting on Gore

Nobody has done more to educate the masses about climate change than Al Gore. He’s written a best-selling book and inspired an Oscar-winning documentary. He’s been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for all his efforts.

This week Gore rolled out a new campaign to raise awareness of climate change. As Bryan Walsh observes,

Gore’s argument””and his point of attack””hasn’t really changed. He’s still set on disseminating the science…

Fanboy David Roberts at Grist sounds like he wants to chest bump the former Vice President:

As always, I find myself admiring Gore’s sheer doggedness. He’s going to explain this f*cking problem to you people as long as he has to for you to hear it. It hasn’t worked yet, but neither has anything else, and in the long run, my bet is always on persistence over cleverness.

Umm, nothing else but Gore’s approach has actually been tried.

So how long do you think Roberts will have to wait for Gore’s persistence to win out?

17 Responses to “Betting on Gore”

  1. charlie says:

    1.  Gore as a flawed messenger:  yes, he has some good qualities.  But he is a little to much of a preacher boy on any issue, and on carbon dioxide that is a real flaw.
    2.  Too much focus on science, not enough on the environment.  I’d say the polar bear thing was also tried, and nobody really care about polar bears.  They are scary!
    3.  Gore message = direct linkage to carbon tax.  The problem with the carbon tax is it will take $15-$20 gasoline to make people radically change their behavior.  At $10 gas, people in the UK still drive — although less than in the US.  I’d say a carbon tax that gets us to $5 or $7 gas could be done if taxes are balanced elsewhere.  But it will have much less impact on reducing carbon that predictions say.
    Haven’t run the numbers, but I suspect Hansen would want the US vehicle fleet cut in half, and then cut in half the miles driven (from about 16K a year to maybe 8K a year).  That is a huge shift, which probably isn’t feasible.

  2. Barry Woods says:

    After watching the teaser video. I can only politely say that it will play well with the coverted.  I imagine it will backfire and alientae mnay people..  Even Exxon employees love their families, pay their taxes, exxon pay the government lots of taxes, etc,etc..

    So, I’ll get my popcorn ready. It also seems VERY US centric politically, so how it will come across in the rest of the world, will be interesting.

    I imagine some on the Pro side of things will think it counterproductive.

  3. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Fanboy eh? Well Keith as you’re the resident fanboy of TBI I can’t say I’m surprised by your snark…
    “nothing else but Gore’s approach has actually been tried.”

    you obviously haven’t been paying attention…

  4. Keith Kloor says:


    Please enlighten me. Point to a campaign by an environmental organization or a major climate activist that has taken a different approach than Al Gore.

  5. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Here’s one example. Let me know if you’d like others.

  6. TimG says:

    Mead’s criticism of Al Gore is relevant: 

    “But while some forms of inconsistency or even hypocrisy can be combined with public leadership, others cannot be.  A television preacher can eat too many french fries, watch too much cheesy TV and neglect his kids in the quest for global fame.  But he cannot indulge in drug fueled trysts with male prostitutes while preaching conservative Christian doctrine.  The head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence.  The head of the IRS cannot be a tax cheat.  The most visible leader of the world’s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways.  Mr. Top Green can’t also be a carbon pig.”

  7. Keith Kloor says:


    I’m aware of that one–even referred to it on this blog once. Go ahead and give me the other ones you think qualify and I’ll respond in full tonight, as I’m traveling.

  8. TimG says:

    #5 Marlowe Johnson

    The trouble is “energy security” and “CO2 reductions” are two completely different objectives with mutually exclusive requirements. Attempts to conflate the two are misleading (to be polite).

  9. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Here’s another, and another, and one more for good measure 🙂
    I strongly disagree.  Energy efficiency is probably the best example that refutes the idea that they’re mutually exclusive goals.  It addresses climate change and energy security. Of course this doesn’t mean that there aren’t strategies that address one goal at the expense of the other (e.g. coal to liquids).

  10. TimG says:

    #9 Marlowe Johnson

    Energy efficiency is a fantasy. We already have incentives to be as efficient has possible so the potential gains are small and will be swamped by the increased demand from increased population. In cases where there are hypothetical gains to be made the cost of implementing the measures far exceed the benefits.

    But the devil is in the details. You cannot have a credible energy security plan without shale gas and increased domestic oil production (I would include the Alberta oil sands as “domestic” for purposes of this discussion). Yet most anti-CO2 activists reject those measures.

    IOW, you can either get energy security or you can get CO2 reductions. You cannot get both.

  11. James Evans says:

    If Mr Gore is all about disseminating the science, then he seems to be doing a spectacularly bad job of it.

    Try this – go to his web site (link above), click on “blog”, and then click on the entry “Reality. It’s not an opinion.”

    Have a look at the comments. I particularly recommend the comments from Roz Rogoff and John Paily.

    I don’t get the impression that Mr Gore’s fans are amongst the most scientifically literate.

  12. EdG says:

    “Nobody has done more to educate the masses about climate change than Al Gore.”

    Educate? Are you joking?

    “He’s been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for all his efforts.”

    Along with the IPCC, Obama, Arafat, and Kissinger.

    The more the public sees of Gore, the less seriously they will take the whole AGW project. He represents the opposite of ‘science’ and the ultimate example of self-serving hypocrisy.

    Wonder how his former Goldman Sachs partners in the carbon trading scam view him now?

  13. Jeff Norris says:

     A more interesting topic would be on what he hopes to accomplish and how.  Right now details are pretty thin so all we have to go on is his mission statement.

    “24 Hours of Reality will focus the world’s attention on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us.”

    Focusing the world is a pretty tough job.  Fate has a way of interfering with plans and the world could easily be more focused on other events.  I expect proponents and some opponents will be eager to watch but how do you get the vast undecided or uninterested?  If you sprinkle the event with celebrities you risk spotlighting any or perceived eco hypocrisy.   He has to fully expect that opponents will calculate the carbon footprint of each event. 

    Emphasizing revealing the deniers also has pitfalls.  You don’t want to end up looking like Geraldo Rivera with Al Capone’s vault so he would have to name names.  A good strategy would be highlighting the more” eccentric” theories but even doing this would be contrary to the past strategy.  That strategy was opponents have no credibility therefore we will not give them credibility by mentioning them.   I can imagine anyone mentioned will be chomping at the bit to argue their case and a great many complaining that Big Al did not mention them.    The safe bet is to just put out the standard evil energy trope but then the many will just hear it as a left/right thing.  Cynically speaking and completely biased I can see a lot of companies willing to donate to this event as a way not to be “revealed”

    Catalyzing a sustained urgency is just damn tough.  Getting a big turnout is doable but without some strong preplanned events and even stronger follow up this will probably end up as effective as Earth Day is now.    

    Right now with zero knowledge of what this event will involve I expect the result to be some nice content for Current TV, a documentary that will be shown at some theaters and proponent sponsored events, of course a documentary on the making of 24hr of reality that will be nominated for an Oscar, and finally a very up to date and valuable email list of potential supporters.  

  14. NewYorkJ says:

    Seems that most of those who claim Gore is a poor spokesperson are those distorting what he says, the latest example…

  15. Keith Kloor says:

    You pretty much make my case with all those links. WRI didn’t mount a campaign based on that paper you linked to from them, did they?
    As for the other organizations you reference, are you serious?

  16. Pascvaks says:

    Honestly, really, if there wasn’t an Al Gore someone, somewhere, would simply go out and buy or invent one.  I think it helps that his father was a politician and some of his best friends were movie stars.  He was made for the job.  He’s perfect. 

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