Aug. 22, 2013 9:08am Liz Klimas

Al Gore, former vice president turned environmental advocate, in a recent interview said climate change is often an avoided topic because deniers are like “an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned.” He compared the dwindling amount of climate denialism to the abolition, civil rights and homosexual movements, which took some time to catch on but gained acceptance over time.

But a recently leaked draft of a U.N. report shows that although climate experts are confident man-made activity is causing global warming, they are having a hard time explaining why the warming rate seems to have slowed in recent years.

In his interview with journalist Ezra Klein published in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, Gore discussed the current state of climate change, policy and regulations, and technology, among other topics. But his comments about what’s often called “climate denial” — a belief that climate change is either not occurring or is not a result of man-made actions — is getting some particular attention.

Moving forward, the most important thing that needs to happen with climate change is “winning the conversation,” Gore said. He referenced several examples of conversations that have been won over the years to overcome racism, homophobia and more:

I remember as a boy when the conversation on civil rights was won in the South. I remember a time when one of my friends made a racist joke and another said, hey man, we don’t go for that anymore. The same thing happened on apartheid. The same thing happened on the nuclear arms race with the freeze movement. The same thing happened in an earlier era with abolition. A few months ago, I saw an article about two gay men standing in line for pizza and some homophobe made an ugly comment about them holding hands and everyone else in line told them to shut up. We’re winning that conversation.
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