By Ben Geman - 09/23/12 07:35 PM EDT
Al Gore hopes to show links between climate change and the effects of extreme weather worldwide with an online and social media-fueled event built around the idea of “dirty weather.”
Gore’s advocacy group, the Climate Reality Project, announced Sunday that its second multimedia “24 Hours of Reality” event will occur Nov. 14-15 and bear the title “The Dirty Weather Report.”
Organizers call the November event part of an effort to counter the lobbying and financial power of oil and coal interests by using social media and other tools to engage people directly.
Gore said on Sunday that “dirty weather” is weather that’s enabled by emissions from fossil fuels and “misinformation” about climate change.
“This crisis has to be understood in order to be stopped. The misinformation includes messaging that it is not happening, that we can’t solve it, that we can’t afford to act,” the former vice president said in a videotaped announcement.
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“However, together with your help and the full force of our 21st Century technology and media, we can stop the misinformation and the dirty weather, and we can solve the climate crisis,” he said in remarks to a conference in New York City on technology and social change.
The live-streamed online event in November is slated to provide content from nations all over the world, and will encourage participation through social media sites, including Twitter. It will include expert commentary, as well as “crowd-sourced videos about how weather is altering our lives and homes, and profiles of communities developing solutions to the climate crisis,” the group said.
The strong push to use social media to boost interest in addressing climate change comes as advocates are playing defense politically in Washington, D.C. Climate change legislation is dead — at least for now — on Capitol Hill, and Republicans are pushing to block Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas regulations.
Organizers hope to build political momentum with the event, which will occur just a week after November’s U.S. elections. Fox said “24 Hours of Reality” is “explicitly intended to connect people everywhere and activate them to take action and to advocate for system-wide solutions with their elected officials.”
Gore announced the event to the Social Good Summit that’s taking place in New York City.
The summit is aimed at exploring ways to harness new media and technology to address environmental problems, poverty and development, disease and other issues.
Environmentalists are citing extreme weather — including recent heat waves and drought in the United States — to seek to show that climate change is not an abstract, future problem, but rather something that’s already under way with damaging effects.
Climate experts say that while individual weather events can’t be laid at the feet of climate change, more frequent and intense drought, violent storms and extreme heat waves are expected in a warming world.
And some scientists are now ditching the caveat about individual weather events.
James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and colleagues published a paper in August that claims certain heat waves and droughts in recent years are the direct result of climate change.
“We find ourselves living in what the scientists call a 'new normal' of more extreme weather that is happening all over the world with increasing frequency,” Gore said Sunday.
“The results — fire, floods, drought, crop and livestock devastation, refugees, just to mention a few — impact everyone, everywhere,” he said.
—This post was updated at 3:35 p.m.