People who oppose efforts to solve global warming will one day be loathed like racists, Al Gore said in a recent interview with FearLess Revolution co-founder Alex Bogusky. Just as racism has faded over time, he said, climate change skepticism must also be condemned and corrected until its adherents see their folly.
"There came a time when people said, 'Hey man, why do you talk that way? That's wrong, I don't go for that, so don't talk that way around me. I just don't believe that,'" Gore said, discussing how people's responses to racism have changed over time.
"That happened in millions of conversations, and slowly the conversation was won," he added. "And we still have racism, God knows, but it's so different now and so much better. And we have to win the conversation on climate."
Gore touched on a wide range of topics during the interview, including the link between meat consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. "Industrial agriculture is a part of the problem," he said, blaming a "shift toward a more meat-intensive diet" for contributing to Americans' oversized carbon footprints. Gore recommended organic farming as a more sustainable alternative, arguing for "more productive, safer methods that put carbon back in the soil" and that can produce "safer and better food."
Other topics covered in the hourlong interview — which was broadcast live on UStream Friday — included the origins of Gore's interest in science and his opposition to mountaintop removal mining, which he called a "horrible practice." But much of the attention has focused on his comparison of climate skepticism to racism, which Gore traced "back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding." Bogusky countered that the scientific literacy required to understand climate change makes it "a little bit different" than race relations, and Gore agreed, clarifying that "I think it's the same where the moral component is concerned."
Gore has elevated his profile in recent months, following a hiatus he took from the spotlight last year. He kept a low profile after he separated from his wife, Tipper, last summer, and then fought accusations of sexual assault from an Oregon masseuse (he was later cleared of all charges). But he returned to public view in June with a 7,000-word essay in Rolling Stone, in which he called out President Obama and others for their failure to act on climate change. He then garnered even more attention earlier this month, when he gave a profanity-laced speech at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, calling "bulls**t" on skeptics who have "polluted" discussions about climate change.
See Gore's FearLess Revolution interview below: