Gore says climate change deniers melting away
August 22nd, 2013
10:44 AM ET
11 months ago

Gore says climate change deniers melting away

(CNN) - Former Vice President Al Gore said he's optimistic about the future of the climate change debate, arguing Republicans are growing weary of global warning deniers.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Gore said climate change activists are in the process of "winning the conversation," just like activists won the civil rights movement.

"The same thing happened on apartheid," he told columnist Ezra Klein in the interview posted online Wednesday. "The same thing happened on the nuclear arms race with the freeze movement. The same thing happened in an earlier era with abolition. A few months ago, I saw an article about two gay men standing in line for pizza and some homophobe made an ugly comment about them holding hands and everyone else in line told them to shut up. We're winning that conversation."

He also pointed to the debate over smoking, saying people thought the late-Sen. Frank Lautenburg of New Jersey was "crazy" for pushing legislation that would ban smoking in airplanes.

"But he was rewarded politically and then politicians began falling all over themselves to do the same. That's the optimistic scenario. And it's not just a scenario! It's happening now," he said, adding that Republicans tell him privately they're starting to accept climate change.

That process of "winning the conversation," however, has been stalled in prior years because "a shrinking group of denialists fly into a rage when it's mentioned," he said.

"It's like a family with an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned and so everybody avoids the elephant in the room to keep the peace," he said, but argued "the ability of the raging deniers to stop progress is waning every single day."

Organizing for Action, the political group formed from the president's re-election campaign, earlier this month delivered unicorn statues to Republican deniers in Congress. The effort was part of a larger push from the group to "hold members of Congress accountable for their positions on climate change," according to a press release.

Gore credited President Barack Obama for his aggressive new climate change strategy that calls for limiting pollution from existing coal-fired power plants and issuing directives requiring the EPA to establish carbon pollution standards for plants that are already active. Gore said he was "very encouraged" by the policy moves.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Al Gore • climate change
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. HenryMiller

    Actually, it's more that, for anyone with any sense, the debate is over and the only thing left is laughing at the AGW nuts and their shrill "The sky is falling!" foolishness–and even that's not much fun any more.

    August 22, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Data Driven

    I think he's overly optimistic. I truly fear that millions would have to die from a cataclysmic climate event, or a series of them, for the deniers to finally lose the argument. In the final analysis, there's simply too much money invested to keep energy policy as it is.

    August 22, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. S.B. Stein

    The sooner we do something to keep the CO2 (and other green house gases) levels down, the better we will be. That means we need to put more money and research time into the renewables as well as both types of nuclear power (fission [with less waste and tyoes of recators that can use the reprocessed waste] and fusion which hasn't been fully figured out for here on Earth). Besides, the sooner we Americans do it, the sooner that we can sell these new types of power designs to the rest of the world.

    August 22, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "That process of "winning the conversation," however, has been stalled in prior years because "a shrinking group of denialists fly into a rage when it's mentioned," he said."

    IMHO it would have been more of a winning issue had we not changed the wording from "pollution" to "climate change". Pollution is a much easier concept for many to accept. Folks eat, drink, breathe "pollution" daily. Of that they are agreed upon.

    Climate change they are unwilling to understand, thus they don't accept it as a "real" concern. You know the drill. God's Will and all becomes their motto and they will absolutely stand by that ... pollution or no pollution.

    August 22, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. nautiusm

    Gore is not winning any argument. Neither are his climate change fools. More people are just ignoring them now. If you are being ignored, it doesn't mean you are winning the argument.

    August 22, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. Gunderson

    Aw, yes,
    Al reliable source if good information. Remember Al invent Internet. Global Warming? Who know for sure. However closer to home UPS, UVA and Las Vegas Unions all have Bad News for Putin Care. Union say Putin Care kill 40 hour work week. Now who predict that? But we have latest batch of Nixon Tapes. Remember him? Aw for the good old days!

    August 22, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Gurgy

    Climate change is Real, can't you see with you eyes.

    August 22, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Highest temps on record, incredibly high Alaskan temps, monster tornadoes, monster floods, tsunami's, record snow storms, melting polar caps, drowned polar bears.... Now, why would you say that Al? You obviously have not been listening to Rep. Coburn.

    August 22, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. wendel

    the party of NO has been absent on anything that has to do with the global warming. they will be seen as on the wrong side of history with this one. You would think with all the education they possess they could figure it out. Their followers are all in denial. back to the middle ages with this group but isn't that what they want ? to take us backwards.

    August 22, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Gunderson

    Aw, yes,
    Al reliable source if good information. Remember Al invent Internet.
    -----------------------–
    From a legal perspective, Gore did invent the internet. He wrote and sponsored the legislation that made the formerly top secret technology available to the public domain, absolutely free of charge, and forever free from any government regulations.

    August 22, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Bobloblaw

    What nuclear freeze? The movement from the early 1980s that advocated surrender to the USSR. Nuclear weapons were reduced AFTER Reagan won the Cold War.

    August 22, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Bobloblaw

    The climate has been changing for billions of years. The deniers are those who think the climate shouldn't change and humanity won't adapt.

    August 22, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    NameUSAF

    Stupid is as stupid dose!!!!
    --------
    Anyone else enjoy the irony of this as much as I did?

    August 22, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    -Bobloblaw

    What nuclear freeze? The movement from the early 1980s that advocated surrender to the USSR. Nuclear weapons were reduced AFTER Reagan won the Cold War
    ********************
    No, Reagan signed the START treaty while in office. Conservatives felt betrayed because their bogeyman, in teh form of Gorbachev, was now a buddy of Reagan's. The freeze movement never advocated surrender to the Soviets, since the current stockpiles were more than sufficient to keill each other hundreds of times over: it gave Reagan an opening to reducing nuclear stockpiles and undercutting a movement that could affect other things he wanted to do. START was a calculated political decision.

    August 22, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Fair is Fair

    "From a legal perspective, Gore did invent the internet. He wrote and sponsored the legislation that made the formerly top secret technology available to the public domain, absolutely free of charge, and forever free from any government regulations."
    --------–
    You've spewed some creative spin in your day, but this one takes the cake.

    August 22, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Al Bore

    Why would I say that a crisis WILL happen when science has never said it WILL happen? If you say a climate crisis WILL happen it just makes YOU the new fear mongering neocon!

    We deniers and former believers now accept the words of the scientists who have never in 28 years ever agreed or said that a crisis was 'inevitable", they have only agreed that their own crisis is "possible" and "likely" and "maybe" and..........

    Science never said it WILL be a crisi so why should anyone else say it WILL be a crisis, science never did?

    August 22, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. ghostwriter

    Gore......what can I say? I don't believe for a second that republicans are willing to give up this fight.

    August 22, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Pssssst... Al.... the climate has been changing for over 4 Billion years...

    August 22, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. PJ

    Go ahead, stick your head in the sand. When our water is so filled with sludge we can't drink it or grow food, and when
    the air is so thick with pollution nobody can breathe, sand might be all that is left.
    It is happening now and we are going to pay for it big time if we don't try to stop what we can.
    Remember the old saying "Extinction is Forever"? It could happen.

    August 22, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. John Medina

    Where does Al Gore live? Is he really that out of touch with reality? No statistically significant warming for more than a decade, growing opposition to AGW propaganda, and, most importantly, declining interest in and credibility of AGW shills.

    August 22, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. JoeBiden

    Funniest stuff I have read today. Al Gore is showing traits that would have most people committed to the funny farm. Just no touch with reality at all. There are very few people that believe in his SCAM any more...

    August 22, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. BlarneyStone

    Who is the bigger laughingstock Obama, Biden or Algore?

    August 22, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    Obama has done nothing but waste money of things that do not, and cannot WORK!

    It is true, more people recognize today, even among Republicans, that humans are negatively impacting the global environment.

    To think, however, that anything the U.S. does......ALONE.......will have any real impact on the problem, unless other countries are also doing their part, is to be a class A fool!

    August 22, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. resident

    Study some geology before you attempt to tell me how to live. It is a FACT that the Earth's climate has ALWAYS been "changing".
    The oxygen content was once too high for humans, by the way.

    August 22, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    You've spewed some creative spin in your day, but this one takes the cake.
    ------------------------
    You taken to the habit of declaring everything I might post a lie.
    Try doing a web search for "High Performance Computing Act of 1991".

    August 22, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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