It will take hundreds of Al Gores or millions of ‘little people’ to overcome the political inertia on climate change

Journalist Darren Samuelsohn has quoted me in a question he put to the former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore in a rare two-hour interview for Politico magazine.

Politico Magazine: During the “24-hour project” [a Gore-led October 2013 effort to raise awareness about climate change], there were a lot of critics who said it didn’t get the right message out, that you weren’t the best messenger, either. There was one response in particular that summed it up that came from Mike Shanahan, from the International Institute for the Environment and Development: “Climate change needs a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King or a Mandela and Al Gore is none of those.” What do you say when critics note that Al Gore as a person polarizes half the country; you need someone different to lead the cause?

Al Gore: It’s not about me. And I’ve never tried to make it about me. And far be it from me to disagree with someone who says I’m not Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. or Nelson Mandela. I have to plead guilty to that charge. I wish that I had the greatness of those three men.

But I’m enough of a student of history to know that Martin Luther King Jr., to pick one example, was considered extremely polarizing and was by many hated and despised. And in the South it was not uncommon to hear people trying to appear reasonable on civil rights but nevertheless digging their heels in, who’d say, “Well, if King would just get out of the way this would just happen.” I think that whoever puts his head up above the trenches and says, “We’ve got to do this” is going to attract the ire of people who don’t want to do it. And there are plenty of them.

Samuelsohn had reached out to me because I had written a post here about Gore back in 2011. Ahead of his interview with Gore, Samuelsohn wanted to know if my views had changed. For the record, here’s the full text of my response to Samuelsohn.

History should judge Gore well, as someone who staked much upon his belief that climate change was an issue to tackle and who worked hard in public and private to convince people that this is a battle we can all fight together.

Too few people with his power and political connections have been so bold. That said, Gore lacks some credibility as a climate-change messenger as his interest in the subject has seemed to come and go. Nor should this task fall upon one man’s shoulders, even if they are as big as his. It will take hundreds of Gores or millions of ‘little people’ to overcome the political inertia on climate change.

Where Gore can have the most impact is not in other countries but at home, by working to show that action on climate change is a bipartisan issue that all Americans can get behind. It needs to be less about Gore the personality and more about Americans doing the right thing.

You can read Darren Samuelsohn’s full interview with Al Gore here. It is an enlightening read and it ends with Gore in an upbeat mood.

Al Gore: It’s clearly wrong to do what we’re doing. It’s clearly right to change. We will change. It’s just a matter of time. And again, how long? Not long.

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2 Responses to It will take hundreds of Al Gores or millions of ‘little people’ to overcome the political inertia on climate change

  1. cartoonmick says:

    In-depth studies, carried out over the last 45 seconds, confirm there is a direct link between the climate and politics.

    Both climate and politics change over time !! A fact confirmed in the afore mentioned in-depth study.

    “Man” is the main cause of all political change, therefore “Man” is the main cause of climate change.

    The climate is seen as a problem if a particular political party is in power, whereas there is no problem at all to be see with the climate if the opposite party is at the helm.

    So, the simplest way to solve any climate problems is to keep that party “who see no problems”, in power.

    Not only will this save the Earth from certain destruction, it will save a lot of money in the national budget as there’ll be no need for climate science committees, reports, analysis, action etc.

    Prior to the 45 second in-depth study, a cartoon was created, which may, or may not, conflict with the theme of the above summary.

    That climate change cartoon is here . . . . . . . .

    http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/editorial-political/#jp-carousel-775

    Cheers
    Mick

  2. AM Soulsby says:

    Politics is funded by companies that have vested interests in oil, coal etc. It matters who makes the change and it’s not someone from campaigning, it’s someone from the industries that will remove the pressure from politicians to ignore climate change. In the UK energy companies make billions in profits but is any of this re-invested in schemes that enable everyone to reduce their consumption regardless of their income etc? No. Until there is serious money to be made then nothing will happen.

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