Friday, Al Gore spoke out on climate change, comparing the ignorance of denying climate change to the ignorance of racists during the civil rights movement. Gore, former vice president, Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental champion, argued that climate change skeptics must be defeated the same way racism was defeated.
In an interview with Climate Reality Project collaborator Alex Bogusky on UStream, Gore explains:
“I remember, again going back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding, there were two things that really made an impression on me. My generation watched Bull Connor turning the hose on civil rights demonstrators and we went, ‘Whoa! How gross and evil is that?’ My generation asked old people, ‘Explain to me again why it is okay to discriminate against people because their skin color is different?’ And when they couldn’t really answer that question with integrity, the change really started.”
“There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, ‘Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won.”
When asked about the anti-science tendencies of the Republican party in general, and Rick Perry’s recent anti-science – climate change denials in particular, Gore said:
“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them.”
Sunday afternoon, conservatives at Fox Nationwere obviously angry with Gore’s remarks. The following is a sample of the kind of vitriol and personal attacks being hurled at Gore:
The BLOWHARD just will not give up.
Call the twinkie mobile and take Al to the enchanted kingdom.
RACISTS? That FAT P I G got RICH trying to scare people, and now he calls people the most despicable names. He’d say and do ANYTHING to keep his scam going.
He is as nutty as a fruitcake. Everybody knows it….including his ex-wife. Nobody listens to a word the doofus has to say. Why do people keep interviewing him???
This man is the biggest id iot the world has ever seen, or will ever see.He’d better be careful about who he calls a racist, too. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
This man’s hate speech is going to get people hurt and/or possibly k i l l e d.
The remarks speak for themselves, and tend to lend credence to Gore’s thesis.
To be clear, Gore is not calling that climate change deniers are racists, he is simply claiming that both groups embrace ignorance rather than truth.
What do you think? Is Gore’s reference to racism over the top and counter productive? Or is Gore right – do climate change deniers need to be socially ostracized and marginalized in order to illustrate their moral and intellectual failure concerning the environment?