Climate change is the problem that makes every other problem worse. It’s not just an inconvenience; it’s an existential threat to billions of humans. America has the power to lead the way in pushing back against the incoming nightmare, and yet, this is the age of “America First”.
Former Vice President Al Gore, arguably the world’s most famous climate advocate, described the election of climate denial peddler-in-chief, Donald Trump, as a metaphorical “punch to the face” in his latest movie – An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.
Nevertheless, when he sat down with IFLScience to talk about the state of the planet, it’s clear that his trademark optimism hasn’t left him.
“Well, we’re only six months into this experiment, and it may soon be terminated for ethical causes,” Gore tells us, chuckling.
The development of Gore’s new movie coincided with some of the most contradictory events in recent years: namely, the signing and ratification of the groundbreaking Paris climate change agreement, the Trump administration’s announcement to pull out of the accords, and the global response to that.
There’s a lot that the movie could focus on, but Gore’s central thesis, if anything, is that the well-documented anti-science, climate-denying rhetoric of the federal government can’t stop what’s coming – namely, it’ll be tough, but we’ll save the world in the end.
"This is our home." Paramount Pictures via YouTube
“For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction,” says Gore. “The reaction to the grotesqueries and absurdities of the Trump administration have included a renewed commitment to solving this crisis.”
When the Trump administration announced that it would extricate the US from the climate agreement, many on both sides of the schism were convinced that it would spell the beginning of the end of climate action.
There were plenty who thought that when the US threw out its obligations, the whole accord would come tumbling down like a house of cards. Remarkably, in response to the move, something miraculous happened.
“When he made that speech [in the White House Rose Garden], I was quite concerned that other countries might use it as an excuse to withdraw. But I was heartened when the rest of the world doubled its commitments as if to say ‘we’ll show you, Mr. Trump.’”
“Then, states and mayors and businesses stepped up to fill the gap, to say they’re still in the Paris agreement. All in all, it looks as if the US will meet its commitments under the accords regardless of what Trump does.”