Are we nearing a climate politics tipping point? Al Gore is optimistic.
First things first, it is important to remember that Al Gore ≠ Global Warming. So, his lifestyle or opinions don't change the reality of global warming.
That said, in an interview with Ezra Klein, Gore explains why he's optimistic we're reaching a positive tipping point on the politics of climate change:
Ezra Klein: Give me the optimistic scenario on what happens next. If all goes well, what do the next few years look like on this issue?
Al Gore: Well, I think the most important part of it is winning the conversation. I remember as a boy when the conversation on civil rights was won in the South. I remember a time when one of my friends made a racist joke and another said, hey man, we don’t go for that anymore. The same thing happened on apartheid. 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.
The conversation on global warming has been stalled because a shrinking group of denialists fly into a rage when it’s mentioned. 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. But the political climate is changing. Something like Chris Hayes’s excellent documentary on climate change wouldn’t have made it on TV a few years ago. And as I said, many Republicans who’re still timid on the issue are now openly embarrassed about the extreme deniers. The deniers are being hit politically. They’re being subjected to ridicule, which stings. The polling is going back up in favor of doing something on this issue. The ability of the raging deniers to stop progress is waning every single day.
There are definitely signs that things may be changing, albeit slowly. For example, three former Republican EPA administrators spoke out about the need to address climate change. And a recent study found that young Republicans won't support climate denial. Former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis is working to inspire Republicans to come around on addressing climate change, as well.
But will the momentum towards addressing climate change move fast enough?