WASHINGTON Al Gore, former U.S. vice president, Academy Award winner and Nobel peace laureate, on Monday launched a $300 million, three-year campaign to mobilize Americans on climate change.
"We can solve the climate crisis, but it will require a major shift in public opinion and engagement," Gore said in a statement.
"The technologies exist, but our elected leaders don't yet have the political will to take the bold actions required. When politicians hear the American people calling loud and clear for change, they'll listen," he said.
A longtime environmental activist, Gore chairs the Alliance for Climate Protection, which unveiled the "We" campaign with a series of videos, a Web site -- www.wecansolveit.org -- and a television advertisement set to air during such programs as "American Idol," "House," and "Law & Order."
The first ad likens the battle against climate change to U.S. troops storming the beaches at Normandy during World War Two, the struggle for civil rights and the drive to send humans to the moon.
"We didn't wait for someone else" to tackle these historic problems, the actor William H. Macy says in the spot. "We can't wait for someone else to solve the global climate crisis. We need to act now."
Future spots are expected to feature such "unlikely allies" as civil rights activist Al Sharpton and conservative preacher Pat Robertson, and country singers Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks speaking together against climate change.
"What's different about this (campaign) is for the first time ever, we're going to be able to reach the general public in their daily lives through television, through media, through community-based organizations ... and online," Cathy Zoi, the alliance's chief executive officer, said by telephone.
Zoi said that ultimately the United States needs new laws to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that spur climate change, "but frankly, in the first instance, we want to get people to join the movement."
She said 9 percent to 10 percent of Americans are already active in the movement against climate change, and 80 percent are aware of the problem.
(Editing by Eric Beech)