Al Gore is a global hero for the work he has done since leaving government to
promote awareness regarding climate change. Yet I am sure he would agree that
this and other long-standing awareness building efforts have failed woefully to
turn such awareness into sufficient climate policy actions. We have been
bombarded with messages from Al Gore's "We Campaign" that "you can't solve the
climate crisis alone." Yet an equally important and largely unspoken message is
that it also cannot be solved with unambitious and clearly insufficient
solutions. It is becoming readily apparent that Mr. Gore's climate change
leadership is in many ways problematic, and he needs to be compelled to work to
enunciate and implement timely, rigorous and sufficient climate policies.
At times the "We campaign", a project of The Alliance for Climate Protection
founded by the Nobel laureate former Vice President, is virtually
indistinguishable from the feel good, denial propaganda of the coal industry.
This complex and urgent global ecological crisis is addressed with vague
platitudes and calls to do something together -- just what is not exactly clear.
Since his "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary, Mr. Gore has first focused upon
celebrity and has now chosen to emphasize bipartisanship. In each communication
strategy – the documentary, entertainment and now public awareness advertising
– putting forth sufficient solutions that may actually be of a magnitude and
scale to solve the issue has been sacrificed to building political unanimity
based upon the lowest common denominator of acceptable action.
Climate awareness without climate action is still climate change. While these
efforts are reaching a large audience, the scale of the solutions presented --
such as using energy efficient light bulbs and driving a Prius; or even the We
Campaign's goals of modest increases in renewable energy goals, global long-term emission targets, and minor coal plant regulations -- is wholly inadequate. Mr. Gore's efforts
continue to do a disservice to prospects for achieving global ecological
sustainability by downplaying the immense social and personal transformations
necessary, including personal sacrifice, to build a low-carbon economic system
that does not further undermine our shared biosphere.
It has been falsely suggested and widely accepted climate change can by easily and cheaply addressed if we just all agree it is a problem. Stabilizing global climate and ecological systems will require addressing head on major difficult issues including over-population and over-consumption (by some), and this requires dramatic reductions in energy use, consumer consumption and birth rates. Long-standing
economic activities such as coal plants that emit into the atmosphere and first time industrial logging of primary forests are going to have to be entirely
foregone. Mr. Gore must be encouraged to speak the full truth regarding these and other rigorous
policies necessary to actually address climate change, not continuing to seek political consensus based on
shallow solutions at the expense of directly addressing root causes. Until he does, he
undermines those of us who have thought through what is actually required
scientifically in terms of climate policy to be successful in maintaining an operable atmosphere.
And frankly, it is sad to see someone of Mr. Gore's skills, resources and
contacts not choose to lead by example and seek to dramatically reduce his own
carbon emissions. He has chosen to not demonstrate the personal sacrifice
necessary to lead in bringing about climate social change. Yet, there are few
with the widespread appeal and legitimacy of Mr. Gore, including inroads into
the elite and money, and he must be called upon to begin telling the full truth
regarding how climate sustainability will be achieved. Tell Mr. Gore if he
really believes climate change is truly a global emergency threatening
civilization, he should be leading by example and organizing mass protests in
support of a rigorous and sufficient biocentric climate plan.
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To achieve climate sustainability, Mr. Gore simply must use his position of power and influence to lead us in demanding real, sufficient change in climate policies
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