I can’t say I follow every word that Al Gore utters about climate change, but when I have heard or read what he has to say, he’s always come across as being passionate on the topic – but nothing like he was a few nights ago.
Mr. Gore was attending a Aspen Institute media forum and he let fly on what he says were industries enlisting lobbyists to muddy the climate debate.
He reminded the audience similar tactics were used by the tobacco industry to delay action on smoking for four decades.
Al Gore is no stranger to tobacco – his family were tobacco farmers for quite a long time and he had also received donations from tobacco companies during his political career. It was only after the death of his sister from lung cancer that he threw himself into “protecting our children from the dangers of smoking.” It was a tough lesson; however, one he learned from.
Anyhow, getting back to the Aspen gig, Mr. Gore said Big Tobacco’s tactics have been “transported whole cloth into the climate debate.” He also claims some of the same people involved with the tobacco cover-up are involved in putting forward messages about carbon dioxide not trapping heat, or volcanoes and sun spots being the cause of climate change, or even claims that the world isn’t getting warmer.
To each of these claims Al exclaimed “bullshit!” I don’t think I’ve ever heard him use such umm.. colorful language in a speech before.
To get a sense of his frustration, you really need to listen to a sound clip from his speech, which can be heard on Real Aspen – the player is toward the bottom of the page. He is clearly very, very angry.
Al would have plenty of insider information that most of us don’t have access to and I really get the sense he feels the battle to really address climate change is being lost.. and that is quite frightening.
I don’t have role models these days as such, but Mr. Gore is a man I would really like to meet – to shake his hand and thank him. While I always had a bit of a green streak and concern about environmental issues, it was his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, that set me on a new path that triggered the creation of Green Living Tips.
Al Gore is far from perfect, but I believe history will treat him kindly and his achievements will outshine any of his failings. Like Dr. James Hansen and a few others, his messages and warnings about climate change have been heard around the world and awakened many people. Here’s hoping he continues the fight for many years to come.