In the video below from Mediaite, former Vice President Al Gore suggests that people today need to “win the conversation” against skeptics of climate change in the same way people stood up to racist comments during the civil rights movement.
Speaking with Climate Reality Project’s Alex Bogusky, Gore argues that in some places, even the words “climate change” have become politically incorrect.
Bogusky explains that it is often difficult to stand up to climate change deniers, but Gore says, “it is no more difficult than it was for Southerners to talk about the evils of racism.”
Gore agrees that explaining the science beyond climate change may be more difficult than confronting racism, but says the moral component is the same.
In the same interview, Gore takes on comments by Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry, who has been an outspoken critic of climate change scientists. Perry recently said he believes there are "a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling in to their projects."
Gore explains that scientists have previously overturned accepted views, so there’s a “natural respect” for a contrarian impulse in the scientific community. But he argues that comments by Perry and others are totally different. He says, "This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole. To attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money."
Gore says members of the scientific community did not enter their profession to make money. Nor did they expect to be regularly defending themselves from political attack.
Out of fear of the public supporting "the scientific reality," Gore contends that:
Powerful polluters ... see it as a useful strategy to try to convince the public that the scientists are liars and that they're greedy and they're making stuff up. All in the service of their overarching strategy of creating enough doubt to persuade people that there shouldn't be any sense of urgency about addressing this crisis.
Not all of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are as unconvinced of climate change as Perry, however. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman tweeted several weeks ago that he “trust[s] scientists on global warming.”
Over the past two weeks, hundreds of people have been arrested in front of the White House for protesting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. According to Tar Sands Action leader Bill McKibben, it is expected to be "the largest collective act of civil disobedience in the history of the climate movement."