DeSmogBlog and The Commons Blog are just wrapping up their coverage of "The Environmental Wars," a conference put on by the Skeptics Society. The conference drew quite a bit of flack for featuring Michael Crichton and John Stossel as keynote speakers, but it sounds like aside from that press-hungry stunt, there was a lot of good stuff going on.
There are tons and tons of Gore interviews out there -- the guy gets around -- but two in particular stand out as unusually substantive. First is this one on NPR's Fresh Air; the other is this one with George Stephanopoulos on ABC. Stephanopoulos is frequently annoying, but it's long and Gore is allowed time to flesh out many of the points he's been trying to make.
"Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action" (PDF) is a report synthesizing the insights of 110 leading thinkers on how to educate and motivate the American public on the subject of global warming. Background on the report here. I'll be posting a series of excerpts (citations have been removed; see original report). If you'd like to be involved in implementing the report's recommendations, or learn more, visit the Yale Project on Climate Change website. This chapter tackles one of the biggies: partisanship (I'll publish the first half today, the second tomorrow). This was, in my own opinion, one of the weaker chapters, probably because the carefully balanced set of conference participants and the scrupulously apolitical tone of the report prevent its authors from stating the obvious: Democrats are begging for bipartisan action on climate change. It is Republicans that remain resolutely partisan on the issue. But please, share your thoughts in comments, especially if you disagree.
"Americans and Climate Change: Closing the Gap Between Science and Action" (PDF) is a report synthesizing the insights of 110 leading thinkers on how to educate and motivate the American public on the subject of global warming. Background on the report here. I'll be posting a series of excerpts (citations have been removed; see original report). If you'd like to be involved in implementing the report's recommendations, or learn more, visit the Yale Project on Climate Change website. Yesterday we heard that no organization or institution bears responsibility for taking action on climate change; everyone's waiting for everyone else to act. Today, we hear about some tentative solutions to this problem.
What is the Prototype for Advanced Ready-made Amphibious Small-scale Individual Temporary Ecological dwelling (PARASITE)? Find out at "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design," a nifty exhibition at the National Building Museum. (Except, uh, it ends tomorrow. Sorry about that. Cool website, though.) The Washington Post has a decent overview.
Matthew Nisbet writes a short history of the framing wars around nuclear power. He predicts, "the more time passes with no new focusing events related to the dangers of nuclear energy, and as the perceived urgency of energy independence and global warming increases, public support in the aggregate is also likely to increase, as recent poll trends suggest." Happily, he also says ... ... if and when the decision is made to build a new nuclear power plant in a specific area, mobilized minorities of local citizens will prove decisive. Who shows up to protest, vote, or speak out at the local level will have a stronger impact on the future of nuclear energy in the U.S. than the current struggle to shape national opinion. Got that?
Jacob Weisberg, Slate's editor, has a piece up about Gore and An Inconvenient Truth. Ben Adler objects to the conclusion, which is: Gore may actually be better off working to change public consciousness as a private citizen than he would as president. Adler finds that absurd. I'm not sure I do, at least not completely. What's lacking now is bottom-up pressure on politicians to tackle global warming. As dutiful report readers know, for politicians, tackling global warming is all risk and no reward. What Gore is doing is explicitly attempting to build that kind of popular swell. I would have thought it would be an impossible task, but he's been amazingly successful so far, and nobody else is doing the job ... so why not keep him there? It's highly unlikely Democrats will win the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress any time soon, and lacking that they won't be able to force action on global warming, even with Gore in the top slot. What I do find obnoxious in Weisberg's piece is this 'graph:
FYI: Starting Monday, June 5, Participant Productions and Segway Inc. will auction off, on eBay, an autographed Segway Human Transporter (HT) from the L.A. premiere of "An Inconvenient Truth" to benefit the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit devoted to spreading awareness of global warming. Segway, the manufacturer of the innovative, environmentally conscious Segway HT, donated the unit to help raise awareness for eco-friendly transportation alternatives and to support Participant Productions fundraising auction for the Alliance. In addition, Paramount will donate 5% of the gross to this organization. You may view the autographed Segway, as well as other items which will benefit the Alliance, at www.ebay.com/climatecrisis on Monday. At the May 16th premiere of Participant Productions' new documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" celebrities Al Gore, Larry & Laurie David, Sharon Stone, Jessica Alba, Daryl Hannah, and many others (see below) autographed the Segway HT. "An Inconvenient Truth" explores Al Gore's plight to spread awareness of global warming. The Segway HT is an electric, zero-emissions transportation device that gives people a real world alternative to the car for short trips that are too far to walk and too close to drive. It costs only 25 cents to charge up the Segway HT and it has an energy efficiency of 450 miles per gallon. Somebody should really proofread these press releases. "Al Gore's plight to spread awareness of global warming"? Update [2006-6-2 14:56:35 by David Roberts]: Hm ... the ebay link does not appear to work. If it's not up by tomorrow, I'll axe the whole post.
Check out this incredibly thorough, fair-minded comparison of various alternative vehicle fuels from, of all places, Popular Mechanics. You can also download a comparison chart (PDF). Nice work.