Al Gore: "We're winning the conversation on global warming"

The former Vice President is more optimistic than ever about our ability to curb climate change

By Lindsay Abrams
Published August 22, 2013 3:47PM (EDT)
  (AP/Elise Amendola)
(AP/Elise Amendola)

Climate change is this generation's civil rights, former Vice President Al Gore told the Washington Post's Ezra Klein. It's our apartheid, our abolition, our smoking in public places, and as with all those things, he's confident that the tide is going to turn. "This is now being resolved into a question of right and wrong," he said, with deniers on the wrong side of history:

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.

Even though we've way overshot the mark set out in 2005 by "An Inconvenient Truth" of capping the atmospheric carbon load at 350 parts per million, Gore said, he believes a combination of new technology, green energy and the public's awakening to the reality of climate change:

The consequences are now hard to escape. Every night on the news, it’s like a nature hike through the book of revelations. Eleven states today are fighting 35 major fires! People are noticing this. And simultaneously they’re noticing the sharp drop in the cost of carbon-free, greenhouse gas-free energy, and the combination is pushing us over this political tipping point and the trend is unstoppable.

Lindsay Abrams

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Al Gore Carbon Emissions Climate Change Climate Skeptics Ezra Klein