Was Al Gore’s 24-hour climate-change information marathon a world-changing event or just ‘more of the same’?
Jeff Tollefson, a journalist at Nature, emailed me late last night to ask what I thought of the 24-hour long Climate Reality event, led by former vice-president of the United States Al Gore.
Here’s what I replied.
I actually avoided the Goreathon, and I guess that says something in itself.
I think it was a bad idea to ask people to let his project take over their Twitter / Facebook accounts for the day. I’m sure people are more likely to listen to their real friends’ real thoughts on climate change than to listen to Al Gore speaking through their friend’s social media accounts.
I saw Gore give his lecture a few years ago and he was a fantastic speaker. Then he disappeared for a few years. He seemed to have lost his passion for communicating about climate change, and that meant he lost a lot of credibility.
If he wants to change the way the world thinks about climate change he needs to be out there every day, visible and among the people who will be affected most or whom he says will need to change most – not on a pedestal performing periodic stunts and charging large sums for speaking engagements, books and DVDs.
One journalist I know in London went to a screening of the new Al Gore presentation tonight and sent me a text that said: “Gore gets gold for most boring and least galvanizing talk on climate, ever… That, and possibly damaging.”
Climate change needs a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King or a Mandela, and Al Gore is none of those.
Jeff published my comments and those of a few other people here.
What do you think? Did you watch any of the Climate Reality events, or use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to share its information?
Or as Jeff asked me: Was it useful? Will it convince anybody? Is anybody paying attention? Is the science being conveyed accurately/in a meaningful way? Is Al Gore helping the cause or merely politicising it?
[Update 29 April 2014: Al Gore has responded to some of the things I said here, in an interview with Darren Samuelsohn for Politico magazine. You can read my more recent thoughts in this follow-up post]