Former Vice President Al Gore is one of the most famous climate change advocates in human history. He’s been zealously fighting for action against the phenomenon, highlighting the work of supporters and pushing back against the efforts of climate deniers for decades now – so it’s unsurprising that his reaction to the president’s recent announcement on the Paris agreement didn’t hold back.
“Our country is going through a challenging time for sure, we've never had a president who has deliberately made decisions, the effect of which is to tear down America's standing in the world, starting with the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement,” Gore said this past Monday, during an interview with the NBC Today show.
“The climate crisis is by far the most serious challenge we face, but he's also undermined our alliances, such as NATO, and hurt our standing in the world in many ways.”
Gore, whose new climate change advocacy movie An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is due to be released to the public within the coming weeks, was certainly distressed by the election of Donald Trump back in November 2016. He appeared on a few of Hillary Clinton’s campaign stops, most notably in Florida, the state that’s arguably the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Urging voters to pick a candidate who would try to solve the climate crisis, he told the crowd that their “vote really, really counts.”
Nevertheless, after the election, Gore went to Trump Tower to meet with Trump and discuss, among other things, climate change. Describing the talks to NBC as “pleasant,” Gore said that he “had hoped he would come to his senses on the Paris agreement, but I was wrong.”
When the fateful announcement was made on June 1 of this year in the White House Rose Garden, Gore stated that he saw the decision to exit the Paris accords as a “reckless and indefensible action.” Significantly, he added that “if President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.”
Before the announcement, and especially since, Gore has sought to highlight the work of groups like the Climate Alliance, a bipartisan collection of states, businesses, and cities that have vowed to stick to the goals of the Paris agreement with or without the current administration.
The central narrative argument here is that the Trump administration is out of the accords, but the rest of America isn’t. When you look at the influence alliances like this hold, this argument becomes very difficult to disagree with.
Although a lot of media attention will naturally focus on Gore’s comments on the President, it’s actually the rebellion against the White House – one that Gore is a part of – that really deserves attention here.