Former Vice President Al Gore laid out his rationale for being optimistic about efforts to combat climate change in a recent interview, making improved communications a key to his reasoning.

Asked by The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein “What do the next few years look like on this issue?” Gore said “the most important part of it is winning the conversation.”

“As the conversation is won on global warming — and it’s not won yet but it’s very nearly won,” Gore said, “the possibilities for policy changes once again open up.”

He spoke of significant changes in social norms and public attitudes over the years concerning issues such as racism, apartheid, homosexuality, abolition, smoking, and nuclear arms and implied that public attitudes can change similarly on climate change.

Saying “a shrinking number of denialists fly into a rage when it’s mentioned,” Gore said “the political climate is changing….The polling is going back up in favor of doing something on this issue. The ability of the raging deniers to stop progress is waning every single day.”

“When that conversation is won,” he maintained, “you’ll see more measures at the local and state level and less resistance to what the EPA is doing. And slowly it will become popular to propose steps that go further, and politicians that take the bit in their teeth get rewarded.”

Gore pointed to rampant wild fires blistering the West and said watching evening newscasts is “like a nature hike through the book of revelations….People are noticing this.” They’re noticing too, he later said, that “the rain storms are bigger, the droughts are deeper and the fires are more destructive. All of these things have not escaped notice, and people are connecting the dots.”

“Don’t get me wrong. We’ve got a long way to go,” Gore said in concluding the interview. But he said business and grassroots interests are reaching a “tipping point” that will, in his opinion, “get to the point where national laws will evolve into global cooperation.”

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