NEW YORK -- A group founded by Al Gore will launch a campaign this fall to connect extreme weather to climate change -- and to attack the "professional denier industry" it blames for sowing public doubt on climate.
In November, the Climate Reality Project will hold a daylong live stream over the Internet called "24 Hours of Reality." It will feature stories about extreme weather events over the last year and attempt to brand them as "dirty weather" -- weather that is caused by carbon-emitting energy sources.
The Climate Reality Project announced the event yesterday at the Social Good Summit, a conference for social-media enthusiasts. The crowd here, largely composed of young techies and the new-media entrepreneurs they revere, believes social media creates new ways of attacking old problems, whether political, economic or environmental.
In a taped message to the audience, former Vice President Gore said it is time to turn that energy against climate change.
"It's fueled by dirty fossil-fuel energy and misinformation. This crisis has to be understood in order to be stopped. The misinformation includes messaging that it's not happening, that we can't solve it, that we can't afford to act."
Gore urged the audience to use social media and events like "24 Hours of Reality" to "stop the misinformation and the dirty weather, and we can solve the climate crisis."
Scientists generally accept that man-made emissions are affecting the climate, but it is not yet established whether specific weather events can be traced back to climate change.
Attempt to 'take over the conversation'
But Maggie Fox, president and CEO of the Climate Reality Project, said "dirty weather" is "weather caused by dirty energy."
She said the goal is to help people connect the fires, hurricanes and droughts they see in the world around them to climate change and the carbon-heavy energy driving it.
Fox said another priority is to "take over the conversation" about climate, which she believes has been skewed by climate skeptics.
"I don't think we need to change people's minds. I actually think it's important to distinguish between people who aren't clear and people who are professional deniers," she said. "We own the ability to shut down that denial and move into reality."
Tim Wirth, a former Democratic U.S. senator from Colorado and current president of the U.N. Foundation and Better World Fund, said skeptics have also hijacked the political discussion.
"There's a lot of political cowardice going on. There's a huge amount of money on the other side of the issue," he said, citing the Koch brothers' financing of millions of dollars in campaign ads.
He asked members of the audience to all use their personal social networks to start a national conversation about climate change and then organize to combat it.
Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500. E&E Publishing is the leading source for comprehensive, daily coverage of environmental and energy issues. Click here to start a free trial to E&E's information services.
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