I think for the time being that's past us. There is now a brand-new focus on the science. But I have seen periods similar to this, when there was a flurry of concern and focus and then it dissipated. It's partly due to the nature of the crisis. The time scale during which it unfolds is shockingly swift in geological time, and even in the context of a single life span, but in the six-hour news cycle it could still be displaced by other earthshaking events, such as Russell Crowe throwing a telephone at a hotel concierge or Britney Spears having a baby.
How do you keep the issue alive?
Tipper and I are devoting 100 percent of [our] profits from the movie and the book to a new bipartisan educational campaign that will run advertising and will be a presence in the mass media, to continue lifting this urgent crisis up for people to see and focus on.
People still think of you as the former Democratic presidential candidate—how do you get away from the idea of global warming as a Liberal issue?
It is for that reason that I am not even on the board of this new group. It's co-chaired by Ted Roosevelt IV, a Republican investment banker and a prominent Republican environmental leader, and Larry Schweiger, who is head of the National Wildlife Federation. His group is the most bipartisan in its membership—lots of hunters and fishermen for example. People on the board include [members of the Reagan and the first Bush administrations]. The Alliance for Climate Protection is determinedly bipartisan and nonpartisan, and its founding principles preclude any endorsement of specific legislation or candidates—it's focused purely and simply on public education and awareness.
Coming Soon: Stay tuned for Smithsonian.com's 'Focus on the Environment,' featuring the tropical cloud forest, "green" plastic, the most livable cities and more!