Al Gore Returns

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Al Gore is back to explain how climate change has progressed since he came on the scene with An Inconvenient Truth five years ago. The new project is called “24 Hours of Reality” and a video introducing the effort features Gore’s steady voice telling us how “Across the globe, cataclysmic weather events are happening with such regularity that it’s being called ‘the new normal.’” It’s a message underscored by climate scientists.

All the supposed skepticism about climate change, the skepticism that’s been so widely adopted by Tea Party candidates, has in fact been the result of the paid efforts of Big Oil and Big Coal, Gore continues. This paying to distort the truth will no longer be allowed to happen in secret, he says, once “24 Hours of Reality” launches on Sept. 14.

According to Daily Climate the worldwide event will involve the simultaneous live streaming of “24 one-hour shows, in multiple languages, starting in Mexico City and spanning all 24 time zones around the globe.”

Gore says in the introduction that the shows will focus the world’s attention on “The full truth, scope and impact of the climate crisis.” Using trained presenters, the videos will explore the latest climate science, the connections to extreme weather and the ways the world needs to work together to find solutions. These will be followed by 30-minute discussion sessions. The hope, of course, is to spark the same kind of national concern about climate change and its already visible threats as An Inconvenient Truth did five years back, when more than 63% of Americans saw climate change as a serious threat according to a Gallup poll.

Given the cataclysmic storm events the country has undergone in the past year alone, it would appear that such facts are even more difficult to ignore. There were the tornadoes that leveled parts of the Midwest; there was the historic flooding of the Mississippi River, the punishing drought and wildfires that have gripped Texas this summer—a state experiencing the hottest summer of any state in U.S. history—and the massive damage and flooding that swept the Northeast with Hurricane Irene. Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a Huffington Post article, “we are seeing the fingerprint of climate change this year.”

But while the message could not be more timely, there is some skepticism that Al Gore is the right man to deliver it. Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, he has become such a polarizing figure, so widely disdained by the right as the embodiment of all things liberal, that there’s concern among environmental pundits that he won’t be taken seriously. But for now, Gore’s all we’ve got.