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Al Gore Launches Campaign to Engage Public on Global Warming

Former Vice President Al Gore is launching a bipartisan three-year campaign this week aimed at building grassroots support to address global warming. With a $300 million price tag, the Alliance for Climate Change’s “We” campaign is one of the largest and most expensive public advocacy campaigns in history.

The program, launched Monday, will combine advertising, online organizing through a Web site and partnerships with grassroots organizations to educate the American public about climate change and mobilize them to push lawmakers to curb greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

“We can solve the climate crisis, but it will require a major shift in public opinion and engagement,” said Gore, who founded the Alliance for Climate Protection in 2006 and serves as its chairman. “The technologies exist, but our elected leaders don’t yet have the political will to take the bold actions required. When politicians hear the American people calling loud and clear for change, they’ll listen.”

Gore, whose Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” encouraged viewers to conserve energy with practices like installing fluorescent light bulbs to fight global warming, said the new emphasis is on getting the United States to enact a cap on greenhouse emissions and ratify a new treaty on global warming.

“It’s important to change the light bulbs, but it’s much more important to change the laws,” he told the Washington Post. “The options available to civilization worldwide to avert this terribly destructive pattern are beginning to slip away from us. The path for recovery runs right through Washington, D.C.”

Television commercials scheduled to start Wednesday on shows such as “Good Morning America,” “Today” and “American Idol” pair unlikely couples like Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi and reportedly Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks voicing support for the campaign.

Robertson, who sits alongside Sharpton on a couch on Virginia Beach talking about the environment in their commercial, said Gore personally asked him to be involved.

“I am honored that Al Gore asked me to be a part of this campaign urging people to take care of the planet,” Robertson said Sunday on CBN. “I have always supported clean air, clean water and the reduction of acid rain. It’s just common sense that we ought to be good stewards of the environment and do everything within our power to protect this fragile planet that we all live on.”

Gore is donating all his proceeds from “An Inconvenient Truth,” a best-selling companion book and international prizes including his share in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to help finance the campaign.

Gore said Sunday on CBS “60 Minutes” that he views global warming as a moral and spiritual issue.

“We all share the exact same interest in doing the right thing on this,” he said. “Who are we as human beings? Are we destined to destroy this place that we call home, planet earth? I can’t believe that that’s our destiny. It is not our destiny. But we have to awaken to the moral duty that we have to do the right thing and get out of this silly political game-playing about it. This is about survival.”

Gore, who is a Baptist, adapted his presentation used in “An Inconvenient Truth” for a religious audience at the recent New Baptist Covenant Celebration by incorporating Bible verses and preaching style.

“This is not a political issue,” Gore said at a stewardship of earth banquet Jan. 31. “It is a moral issue. It is an ethical issue. It is a spiritual issue.”

Robertson said as he and Sharpton finished taping their commercial last week, at Gore’s suggestion, the three men prayed together off camera.

“Al is getting much more spiritual, because he realizes the spiritual dimensions of this, where we are supposed to care for the planet,” Robertson said. “And God gave us this mandate, to look after this earth that we live on.”

The We campaign has a goal of enlisting 10 million Americans in the fight against global warming and claims to have already enlisted the first million toward that goal.

“There is no problem that can’t be solved when Americans unite behind a shared commitment,” said Alliance CEO Cathy Zoi. “Solving the climate crisis is a moral question that transcends who we vote for, which house we worship in or who signs our paychecks. It is past time for us to come together on this issue.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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