By Becky Hogan
Former Vice President Al Gore is still raising public awareness on global warming, even if he doesn’t quite get the facts straight every time.
This week Gore continued his efforts to bring climate change to the forefront of political debate ahead of a UN report which claims human agency as the cause of rising temperatures.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Gore said that “man-made global warming is all over” storms like hurricanes and other extreme weather events. “The extreme events are more extreme. The hurricane scale used to be 1-5 and now they’re adding a 6,” he said.
But according to Gretchen Goldman, an analyst in the Scientific Integrity Initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy, Gore’s comments weren’t completely accurate.
Both Goldman and a spokesman for the National Weather Service have said that there are no plans to add a Category 6 to the Hurricane scale. A little hyperbole, perhaps. Note: He also compared climate-change denial to racism and homophobia in the interview.
Since his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth, Gore has been seen as a major activist on climate issues, but his involvement in the issue has also spurred political divides between Democrats and Republicans. This week his comments on climate change and climate denial drew ire from Republicans.
We took a look at how much buzz Al Gore generates on social media when climate change issues are trending in the news.
There appears to be a clear correlation between mentions of climate change in the media and Facebook “Talked Abouts” for Gore.
Not only has he seen an upsurge this past week in Talked Abouts following the UN report and his interview, but he also saw major upticks in June.
Here’s why: in mid-June, the Bloomberg administration issued new warnings about New York City’s vulnerability to climate change. And again in late June, a study backed by NASA and the EU showed that Greenland was losing ice five times faster than it was in the 1990s.
But while Gore has been in the press a lot recently for his comments about human impact on climate change, his message seems to have lost credibility more recently—he’s seeing less Facebook Likes this month than he did back in June.
Since his comments in the Ezra Klein article were published, he hasn’t seen significant gains in in Likes– especially compared to his Talked Abouts rate. Will he still have influence on this issue in the wake of the criticism he’s received?
Coincidentally, House Republicans scheduled a hearing for next month on climate change, in a move that some say seems to be calling the Democrats’ bluff. We’ll continue to monitor this issue as the climate debate warms up.