Al Gore’s Nobel Prize was a momentous event we should all applaud. Now it is time to move on and get smart about the climate movement’s next steps. First, we should deal with some of our own inconvenient truths: global warming continues to rank extremely low among voter priorities, and Congress is going nowhere fast. The question we should ask ourselves is, how can the climate movement retool its politics for the post-Gore era?
It is high time for global warming activists to leave behind their focus on the “planetary crisis” and the regulatory-centered agenda, and embrace an energetic and inspiring vision that captures people’s minds, hearts and votes.
Despite last year’s “tipping point” in public attitudes toward climate change, Pew polls find that it still ranks dead last among voter concerns. It is of little surprise, then, that the Washington Post ran a front-page article on recently titled “Climate Is a Risky Issue for Democrats.” Nor is it surprising that the best provisions of today’s congressional energy bill would still allow U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to grow 22 percent by 2030, effectively making the recommendations of the world’s leading scientists unattainable.