SXSW Kicks Off With An Inconvenient Keynote

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- That’s pretty much what former Vice President turned media tycoon and global climate change activist presented during the opening session at the SXSW Interactive festival. Give him credit for staying on message, but he offered little new insight on the media angle behind the climate change problem, other than to update it with some recent data showing the planet is heating up.

Brandishing a slide presentation including images of someone cooking “pork and shrimp on the hood of a car” using the sun’s radiant heat, Gore piled on the overwhelming evidence that the earth’s climate is altering to unsustainable proportions.

Nine years after his film “An Inconvenient Truth” came out things have simply grown worse. So here’s the media spin: Gore acknowledged that piling on bad news via media coverage of climate change may actually be counterproductive.

“If it seems like a hopeless task, ‘party on,’ some people think,” Gore said underscoring the fundamental media problem behind trying to communicate climate change. Deniers aside, Gore implied it simply becomes so overwhelming to some people that they just tune out.

That said, and probably because of saying it, Gore offered a bright side too, noting that he has been filled with “hope” by some recent reactions to the issue, including a stat that came out just yesterday indicating that for the first time global climate emissions have stabilized, despite the fact that there were no macro-economic factors limiting industrial output.

“We had 3% growth last year in the global economy, but carbon emissions sayed where they are -- they didn’t go up,” Gore shared, adding that while it is “too early to tell” whether it is a permanent trend, it is a bright sign that industries and governments are taking steps to curtail carbon emissions.
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