Climate Reality

I should confess that when it first came out, I dozed off during the Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.  That's not the kind of admission you'd expect from someone who spends their days (and many nights) working on urban climate policies. But, influential as it was, there just seemed to be something missing from that first effort to communicate the urgency of responding to climate change.

What ever it was, Gore's new Climate Reality presentation figured it out. The worldwide marathon of presentations that began in Mexico yesterday and concluded in New York tonight was a true success. 24 hours and 24 presentations in 13 languages later, over 8 million viewers tuned in. Andrew Revkin, over on the NYT's Dot Earth blog makes some good points about what the broadcast doesn't do.

But while it may not solve the politicization of climate science, or our dependence on fossil fuels, it does do two simple but important things.

First, it makes abundantly clear the cumulative worldwide impacts that rising greenhouse gases are beginning to have. In a world of rapidly moving news cycles, having a production pause to take stock of the multiple climate calamities that have hit over the past year is a powerful exercise in an off itself.

Second, it  presents the reality of climate change -- and the concerted corporate campaigns to cause confusion around it -- in a way that empowers people to take action. Two motto's run through the presentation: "Win the Conversation" and "Change laws, not light bulbs."

Winning the conversation, means pushing past the debate past questions over the reality of climate change. Yes there are some uncertainties, particularly when it comes to specific local impacts. But we know enough to justify much more ambitious action. Changing laws (and not light bulbs) is the next step.

Pricing carbon would be a good place to start. But it is not the only place. The real debates we need to have now are about how to ween a carbon dependent world off of fossil fuels. Those will be hard discussions. But they are the ones that are worth having.

Climate Reality is no silver bullet, it won't magically create consensus around climate policy. But it may help focus debates (especially in the United States) on the real issue of "what to do" rather than whether we should be doing anything at all.

You can see all the videos and highlights from around the globe here.  As well as Gore's closing presentation, I've also embedded one other interesting short video from the event below.

Video streaming by Ustream


1 Response to "Climate Reality"

maciek said... 22 December 2011 at 03:36

i hate when ppl talk that there's no such a thing like global warming and other "bullsh*t"... man, look outside - we have december and there's almost no snow. it does make a change in our world! come on and start acting more seriously!


This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

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