Former Vice President Al Gore has expressed pessimism over the new US administration’s will to act on key climate issues, saying he was “wrong” about President Donald Trump
Al Gore made the comment during a television show on Monday night, recounting the details of his meeting with Trump after last year’s election to discuss climate change and the landmark Paris accord, which the Republican candidate had promised to pull out of during his presidential campaign.
“I went to Trump Tower after the election,” said Gore. “I thought that there was a chance he would come to his senses. But I was wrong.”
The former vice president initially worried that Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States
from the international agreement would be “disastrous,” but he was excited by the response of political leaders in the country.
“A lot of our most important governors and mayors and business leaders said, ‘We’re still in the Paris Agreement, and we’re going to meet the commitments of the country regardless of what Donald Trump tweets,’” he noted.
The Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in the French capital and went into effect on November 4, 2016.
The accord seeks to halt average global warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures by 2050. It also sets out a goal of reaching a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.
Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate change accord on June 2, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by AFP)
Trump has taken a hard stance on climate change; at times calling it a hoax by China. He vowed during the election campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement within 100 days of becoming president on January 20 in order to bolster US oil and coal giant, which bankrolled his campaign.
Last month, Trump said he has withdrawing the US from the agreement, a move that would have profound effects on the planet and deepen a rift with American allies. He called the deal unfair to American workers and said it stifled production and imposed burdens on the country.
Washington’s pullout from the Paris climate deal has sparked international outrage and led to massive protests within the US.
Many nations have expressed hopes that the US will stay, but they also believe the accord has enough backing to survive a withdrawal.
The decision to exit the deal will put the United States
in league with Nicaragua and Syria as the world’s only non-participants in the treaty. The US ranks just behind China in greenhouse gas emissions.