Gore’s U.S. popularity not as hot as warning to globe

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Al Gore may be experiencing a little global cooling these days. Less than half of Americans see him favorably, according to a Gallup poll released yesterday.

“The American public’s basic views of him are no more positive than they were four years ago, and remain below where they were when he was vice president” said Gallup analyst Joseph Carroll.

The survey found that 48 percent of the respondents had a positive opinion of Mr. Gore, 45 percent a negative one. Among Republicans, 19 percent favored Mr. Gore; among Democrats, 69 percent. Between 1992 and 2001, he averaged a 56 percent overall approval rating.

“There are no signs that Gore’s high-visibility focus on global warming has produced changes in his standing with the American public, ” the survey said.

Indeed, Mr. Gore has endlessly promoted his environmental documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” since its release in May. But a spoof of the film — titled “Al Gore’s Penguin Army” — is now featured on YouTube.com, a popular Internet video site. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that the video was produced by the DCI Group, a District-based ad agency that works for Mobil Exxon Corp. The spoof is one of several already posted.

Not everyone wants Mr. Gore’s brand of activism. The Coyote Point Museum, a financially strapped California wildlife center, is now fighting off a takeover by the 11th Hour Project, Mr. Gore’s “climate crisis” group, which has proposed retooling the rustic site as a “global warming education hub,” complete with IMAX movie theater. Museum staffers fear that their traditional focus on the local environment would be lost in the shuffle.

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton is horning in on Mr. Gore’s territory. On Tuesday, Mr. Clinton dramatically announced his own global warming initiative, urging world cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“The fate of the planet that our children and grandchildren will inherit is in our hands,” Mr. Clinton told a high-profile Los Angeles audience, which included British Prime Minister Tony Blair, London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

But a London-based progressive think tank may have thrown some cold water on global warming yesterday. The Institute for Public Policy Research has accused government officials, activist groups like Greenpeace and the news media of producing “climate porn” by using alarmist and “apocalyptic” language about climate change that frightens rather than informs the public.

The agency analyzed 600 recent British articles, broadcast and online news reports, ultimately concluding that messages were “confusing, contradictory and chaotic.” The report urged one and all to stop treating global warming “as a brand that can be sold.”

Lead author Simon Retallack added: “Government and green groups should avoid giving the impression that ‘we are all doomed.’”

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