Former Vice President Al Gore is hoping to change the world with three years and a $300 million ad campaign. The goal of the costly campaign is to urge Americans to push for a more aggressive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Gore is launching the ad campaign with the Alliance for Climate Protection, a group he created in 2006. Both Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection feel the ad campaign is necessary to turn basic awareness of the problem into action.
The issue of global warming has been the center of debate for years. In 2007, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change issued a report stating that since the 20th century, humans have been the main cause of global warming.
Gore has made it his personal mission to help solve the problem. With “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore urged Americans to make small changes in their everyday lives. He says what needs to happen now are policy changes by United States lawmakers.
“I think it’s great that Al Gore is doing this campaign,” Dr. David Dunbar, associate professor of biology, said. “I don’t think it would have worked even five years ago.but more and more individuals are now convinced global warming is ‘real.'”
Dr. Melissa Terlecki, assistant professor of psychology, agrees that the nationwide awareness of global warming has just recently increased. She says very few people realize how serious the global warming situation is because not many ordinary citizens are educated about the topic but that is changing with the many “going green” campaigns happening nationwide.
The ads will run during shows like “American Idol” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” The funding for the campaign has mainly come from private contributors. In a phone interview with the Washington Post, Gore declined to name his exact contribution but stated that he has given all of the proceeds from “An Inconvenient Truth,” both the book and the documentary, and from his 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, among other things.
Gore is introducing his campaign at a crucial time in the political election, when the final two Democrats are fighting for their spot on the ballot and whoever wins will have to fight it out with McCain. The campaign is trying to ensure that the issue of global warming will be as important as the other top issues of the election, like Iraq and health care.
Now that many people are catching the going green phenomenon, it is almost guaranteed that the next president will have to take more of a stance on global warming than the current administration has.
As of February 2008, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton support an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. John McCain was the lead author of a bill to reduce emissions by 65 percent by 2050.
McCain supports an increase in fuel efficiency with no specifications, while Obama supports a standard of 50 mpg in 18 years and Clinton supports a standard of 55 mpg in 22 years.
Clinton and Obama have specific goals set for a renewable electricity standard, while McCain has opposed proposed standards in 2002 and more recently in 2005. Clinton has a goal of a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2020, Obama has a goal of a 50 percent reduction in energy intensity by 2020 and McCain supports energy efficiency but has no target specified. All of the candidate information was gathered from ecovote.org.
“It’s important to change the light bulbs but it’s much more important to change the laws,” Gore said in an interview with the Washington Post. “The path for recovery runs right through Washington, D.C.”