On July 12, 2011, two anti-global-warming organizations founded by Al Gore—the Washington, DC-based Alliance for Climate Protection (ACP) and the Nashville, Tennessee-based Climate Project (CP)—merged to form a new entity: the Climate Reality Project (CRP), described by its spokesmen as “one of the largest non-profit educational and advocacy organizations focused singularly on climate protection issues in the world.” Gore himself was the nominal founder of CRP, and he has served as its chairman since day one. Inheriting the organizational infrastructures already developed by ACP and CP, from its inception the Climate Reality Project employed more than 200 staffers in 30 offices across the United States; it had branch offices situated in 8 separate countries; and it enjoyed the support of some 3,000 volunteers in 55 nations. Moreover, CRP claimed to have more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide.
Guided by the premise that “the climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it,” CRP’s mission is “to reveal the complete truth” about that crisis “in a way that ignites the moral courage in each of us” to combat it.
According to CRP, “rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the world’s atmosphere have already led to a temperature rise of almost three degrees Celsius over the past 50 years” in Antarctica, causing the region’s land ice to melt at an alarming rate. This trend, says the Project, threatens the well-being of “all animals up the food chain” in Antractica, most notably penguins, whales and seals. Moreover, says CRP, no continent is immune from the potentially cataclysmic coastal flooding that will inevitably result from rising sea levels all over the world (caused by the Antarctic ice melt).
CRP has expressed strong support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s “historic and courageous Carbon Pollution Standards—a move that would limit for the first time the carbon output from new power plants.” Further, CRP encourages individuals and businesses alike to purchase carbon offsets as a means of counteracting their polluting activities (i.e., carbon dioxide emissions). Al Gore’s General Investment Management is a firm that sells carbon offsets.
CRP’s inaugural event, titled “24 Hours of Reality” (24HR), took place on September 14-15, 2011. At 8 p.m. in each of the world’s 24 time zones, a citizen activist trained by Gore delivered a unique presentation, viewable online, to the people located in his or her particular zone. These presentations showed a connection between recent extreme weather events—including floods, droughts and storms—and “the manmade pollution that is changing our climate.” All told, the presentations were given in 13 different languages. After 24HR was finished, CRP’s 3,000+ trained climate presenters set out to give these same talks at global-warming events around the world.
Fifty-five partner organizations helped CRP organize and carry out the 24HR project. Among these were 350.org, the David Suzuki Foundation, Greenpeace, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
According to CRP, scientists today agree with virtual unanimity that “the impacts of climate change” are profound and incontrovertible. “But special interests, with exorbitant funding and support from Dirty Energy companies, have spent decades on well-coordinated campaigns to mislead and deceive us,” says CRP. “They carefully planted the seeds of doubt and cynicism into the conversation … so they could slow down or stop the actions we need to solve this problem.” By CRP’s telling, these “climate deniers” are “following the exact same playbook as the tobacco companies that once denied that smoking causes cancer.”
The president and chief executive officer of CRP is Maggie L. Fox, a veteran of more than 30 years of political, environmental, and national-issue campaigns geared toward promoting “progressive change.” Holding a master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado and a J.D. from Northwestern School of Law, she is a past national president of America Votes; spent 20 years working at the Sierra Club, including 5 years as its deputy executive director; and currently serves on the board of the Green Fund. Moreover, Fox has consulted with numerous organizations and foundations on their energy and climate campaigns, including the Energy Future Coalition, the Western Conservation Foundation, Western Resource Advocates, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.