'An Inconvenient Sequel': Al Gore on Why So Many Americans Deny Climate Change ($$$)

Kevin Polowy
Senior Correspondent

As the old adage goes, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Despite overwhelming evidence and a consensus among the vast majority of the world’s scientists, many Americans still contest the notions of global warming and climate change. It’s part of the reason why former vice president Al Gore is back on the big screen with An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, a follow-up to his Oscar-winning 2006 alarm-sounder An Inconvenient Truth.

“When you see the levels of climate denial in the United States, the only country where the major conservative party is committed to climate denial, you can be pretty sure that that didn’t happen by itself,” Gore told Yahoo Movies during a recent interview (watch above).

Gore sees Americans’ resistance to believing climate change science as the result of a concerted effort by lobbyists in carbon-emitting industries to fight regulations. “Some of the large carbon polluters and their ideological allies have spent billions of dollars over the last couple of decades to create that climate denial,” he said, likening the strategy to the one tobacco companies popularized in the late-1960s. Their goal is “to put false ideas out there in the media, with fake scientists who are pretending to be authoritative like those fake doctors were working for the cigarette companies,” he said.

Still, Gore remains optimistic. “My default setting is always hope. What’s more apparent to me is that this climate movement is now following in the tradition of great moral causes in the past. The abolition of slavery, the right to vote for women, the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Apartheid movement, more recently the gay rights movement.

“Ultimately, the underbrush was cleared away and people were able to clearly see the central choice, which was a very clear moral choice: what’s right, and what’s wrong. And the climate movement is now at that stage.”

And also, just for the record: Da Nile — the river in Egypt — has been facing the dangers of climate change first-hand, with rising sea levels threatening to flood Egypt’s ancient cities, if the river doesn’t sink into the sea first.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is now in select theaters and opens nationwide Aug. 4.

Watch Gore recall his experience presenting at the Academy Awards:


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