Gore says climate change deniers melting away
August 22nd, 2013
10:44 AM ET
10 years 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.

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"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. nothing

    Science is not a conversation, if all the people in the planet were made to accept the idea that sound travels faster than light, you might have won the conversation, but that is not a scientific. To say "Climate Change is happening" is as meaningless as saying air can move.

    August 22, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. sundownr

    I believe Gore should melt away too. He simply is not credible and harms the environmental cause. Having said that I will remind everybody the next degree in rise in our planet's average temperature can create weather which will begin to test mankind's will.

    August 22, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    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".
    Didn't call it a "lie". I sais it was very creative spin. Try googling "there's a difference".

    August 22, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Marcus

    HenryMiller – You talk like those guys who look down on EVERYBODY else and says: 'Poor idiots, they DO believe the Earth is round and not FLAT as we, the few ones left with a brain in this world of fools, know it is'...
    Al Gore might be sometimes a bit too 'intense' in his opinions, and he makes no secret of it, but at least he tries to make his points basing it in in data that can (and IS) verified and checked by those who disagrees with what he says.
    While you... when is your next 'Neil Armstrong never was in the Moon' meeting?

    August 22, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair

    Pssssst... Al.... the climate has been changing for over 4 Billion years...
    Pssssst... Fair... the time scales for climate change has been changing for past 200 years. We're seeing centuries and millenia worth of change over the span of a decades. Climate change is occurring at a rate never before measured in the geological records. Something has changed, something's different now from what conditions were in the past.

    The most significant diference between the geological records and what has been measured in recent decades has been the presence of intelligent mankind and the industrial revolution.

    August 22, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Didn't call it a "lie". I sais it was very creative spin. Try googling "there's a difference".
    No, you can't call the truth a lie. Facts are not "creative spin." Try googling "there's a difference".

    August 22, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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