Al Gore - What We Do About Climate Change Next in "An Inconvenient Sequel" - Extended Interview

Extended - August 1, 2017 - Al Gore 08/01/2017 Views: 35,743

Former Vice President Al Gore weighs in on President Trump's decision to leave the Paris climate agreement and talks about his documentary film "An Inconvenient Sequel." (11:29)

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Please welcomeformer vice president Al Gore.

(cheering and applause)


Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Thank you so muchfor being on the show.

Oh, it's great to be here.

I know you are very busytrying to save the world,

-and I appreciate you makingthe time to pop by. -(laughs)

What better place to do itthan on The Daily Show?

Uh, the world. (laughs)

But thank you.I appreciate that.

Let's get into it.

This is a strange filmfor me to watch because I go,

"The first film was almost'the world is ending,'

-and now there's a sequel?"-(laughs)

Yeah. Yeah.

Well, the solutionsare here now,

and that's part of the changethat's taken place

in the decadesince the first film.

The climate-relatedextreme weather events

are way worse and morefrequent now, unfortunately,

but we really do havethe solutions available now.

-Right. -Electricityfrom the sun and the wind

is getting so cheap.

In many areas, it's way cheaper

than electricityfrom fossil fuels.

And the cost is coming downfor electric vehicles

and batteriesand all kinds of things

that we can useto solve this crisis.

You have traveled extensivelyaround the world.

You've spokento multitudes of people

about the issues that they facebecause of climate change.

Unfortunately,we're now in a place

where it has become a debate.

When-when you makea film like this,

are you preaching to the choir,

or do you thinkthat there is a small chance

somebody would watch this filmand go,

"Oh, okay,maybe you've changed my mind"?

Well, there's a new participantin the discussion

that's way more persuasivethan I am,

-and that's Mother Nature.-(chuckles)

And these extreme events,

like, unfortunately,Superstorm Sandy

here in this citya few years ago,

-have really gottenpeople's attention. -Right.

You know,there really is no debate.

The large carbon pollutershave taken the playbook

from the tobacco companiesyears ago.

When they linked cigarettesto lung cancer,

the tobacco companieshired actors

and dressed 'em up as doctors

-and put 'em in frontof the camera -Right.

to falsely reassure people thatthere were no health problems.

And the carbon pollutershave now done the same thing,

with pseudoscientists

and fake, false doubtsand all of that.

But peopleare seeing through it.

More than two-thirdsof the American people know

it's a crisisand we have to solve it.

Actually, uh, way more,uh, Trump voters,

uh, than not believethat it's a crisis

and wanted us to stayin the Paris Agreement.

A big majority of Republicans,uh, disagree with Trump on it.

Now, I mean,Trump voters-- or many of them

or some of them--may believe in it.

The problem is the personthey support does not.

Uh, Donald Trump has beenvery vocal and, I mean,

at one point, sayingit's a hoax, uh, by China.

It's likea really elaborate prank.

-(laughing)-Um... Which is what China does.

You know how they are. Um...

And one of... Uh, you know,I mean, he-he went against Paris

because he felt likeit was a raw deal for America.

Essentially, the presidentargues that the cost

to the United Statesfar outweighs the benefits

of going upagainst global warming.

It seemslike an obvious argument,

but how do you respondto something like that?

Well, it's a false argument,and it's been proven

to be false over and over again.

Actually,the biggest source of new jobs

is in solvingthe climate crisis.

Solar jobs are now twiceas numerous as coal jobs,

and they're growing17 times faster

-than other jobs in the economy.-Right.

Single fastest growing jobis wind turbine technician.

Uh, and if you look herein the United States

at all the new electricitygenerating capacity

that was built last year,

three quarters of it wasfrom solar and wind,

-virtually none from coal,the rest was from gas. -Right.

Uh, so the world is,uh, changing very rapidly.

Uh, India just announced,by the way,

that, within only 13 years,

100% of all their new carsand trucks

are gonna haveto be electric vehicles.

-They're moving faster thanwe are on that... -(cheering)

-on that score.-When-when you...

when you talked to,uh, people in India

and when you beganthose discussions,

it really wasn'tan easy discussion to have.

Because I-I know this, comingfrom South Africa and as...

I've traveledon the African continent,

the one thingthat has been repeated is that,

for third world countries,it's a lot harder to adopt

many of these ideasbecause it's harder

to get into the worldof renewable energy

when you have fossil fuelsat your disposal.

If someone says to you,"Al Gore, I get it.

"This may be betterfor an industrialized nation.

How can you prescribe thatto a developing nation?"

What-what is the solution?

Well, it was easy to understandthat argument several years ago.

It's not so easy now, becausethey have the chance to leapfrog

the old dirty fuel sourcesthat we built our development on

-150 years ago.-Right.

It's sort of like--and you've seen this throughout

the African continent where--when mobile phones came in,

they sold a lot of 'em inthe rich countries like the U.S.

-Uh-uh.-But, wow, in-in Africa,

in Asia, South America,they just really took off

-because they can leapfrog overthe old technologies... -Right. go straightto the-the new,

better, cleaner technologies.

And I'm not surethere's anybody in Africa left

that doesn't havea cell phone now.

-When I go there, I just see 'emeverywhere. -Right.

Maasai warriors with the robesand the spears,

and they reach inand get out their cell phone.

And-and I mean, literally.I'm...

-No. That's literally true.-Absolutely, and they just...

Just that, the thing is, Ilaughed 'cause I know that guy.

-That was weird for me. -Yeah.Yeah, yeah, and... -(laughter)

But I... but I have seen it.It is... It's be...

People got to skipthe land line, then they got

to go straight to the mobilephone, because you don't need...

-Well, the same thing is true...-Yeah.

Same thing is true now

because the land lineelectricity grids don't exist

-in many areas.-Right.

In India there are almost

as many peoplewith no electricity at all

as the entire populationof the United States.

And they're not gonna everget it

buy building dirty coal plants

and planting these pollsevery place and copper wire.

They're just going straightto the solar panels, and

it's cheaper now.

There have beensome new contracts signed

just in the last few months

where electricityfrom solar panels

is being sold unsubsidizedat less than half the cost

of electricityfrom burning coal or gas.

So in the... in the poorcountries of the world,

the developing countries,

-they are really moving quicklyinto solar and wind. -Mm-hmm.

And they're skippingthe dirty, uh, power.

And by the way,

along with population growth,there's urbanization,

and the population of cars andtrucks is growing even faster.

So they havethe air pollution problems

which, in China and India,

-are causing a lotof political unrest. -Right.

I mean, you know, when peoplecan't breathe, that's a problem.

-(laughter) -And so,there's a lot of pressure

to get off the dirty coal.

Um, if we look at Americaas a world leader,

-in many ways, Donald Trump hasgiven up that position... -Yeah.

...especially when it comesto climate change and fighting.

-Yeah. -So,the world has moved forward.

Countries like India havestepped in, you know, and said,

"We will pull our weightin the Paris Accord."

How important does the presidentof the United States become then

in that conversation?

Will it stallbecause of Donald Trump,

or does there become somethingpeople can do without him?

Well, it's interesting.

When he made his announcement

that the U.S. was gonnapull out of the Paris Agreement,

I was really worried that someother countries would use that

as an excuseto pull out themselves.

But right away, the entire restof the world doubled down

on the commitment to meet theParis Agreement as if to say,

"We'll show you, Donald Trump."

And here in this country,

the governors and mayorsand business leaders stepped up

-and filled the gap and said,"We're still in Paris. -Mm-hmm.

And now it looks like we'regonna meet our commitments

under the Paris Agreementregardless of Donald Trump.

-He's kind of isolated himself.-When we...

-(applause and cheering)-Yeah.

When we speakabout meeting commitments,

the one thing that many, um...

you know, skeptics have raised,the one point is...

even if the U.S. and all theother countries around the world

meet the commitments,

the magical numberof two degrees Celsius

will still be reachedin terms of climate change

and the rising temperaturesaround the globe.

So... there are many peoplewho say there is no point,

because regardlessof what we do,

the temperature will changeand it will rise

to that two-degree pointwhere the oceans rise

and then Miami isno longer a thing.


what then becomesthe way forward?

Because it becomesan argument

of is there anything we're doing?

Is this really a human thing?

Climate change has been agreedon, but some people are saying,

but do humans contributeas much to it as possible?

And even if we do nothing,it's gonna change,

so then what is the pointof doing something?

Oh, you're mushing a coupleof things together there.

First of all, there isreally no longer any argument

about whether it's human causeor not-- it is.

-It's virtually a hundredpercent human cause. -Right.

We're puttinganother 110 million tons

of global-warming pollutioninto the atmosphere today,

using the sky as an open sewer.

The cumulative amount now trapsas much extra heat energy

as would be released by 400,000Hiroshima-class atomic bombs

going off every single day.

It's a big planet,but that is a lot of energy.

A lot of it's going intothe oceans, heating them up.

The reason Superstorm Sandywas so, uh, destructive

is it traveled over areasof the Atlantic

nine degrees Fahrenheitwarmer than normal.

That's where it got thatwind speed and all the moisture

that made it so destructive--

filled up the 9/11 War MemorialTwin Towers site.

Uh, and so...

Now, to the first partof your question,

it's a really important one.

It is true thatno matter what we do now

there will be somecontinued temperature increases,

some continued sea level rise,

but we still have the ability

to affect the paceof that change

and to prevent much worse damagethat would take place

-if we did not get controlof this. -Right.

So despair isjust another form of denial.

It can be paralyzing.

Now that we havethe solutions available,

we can solve this crisis,but we need to get going on it.

Uh, we need...We've got the technology,

we've got the solutions--we need enough political will.

But political will is itselfa renewable resource.

It's interesting you say that.

It's almost like peopleare saying, uh,

"Why pump the brakesif we're gonna crash anyway?"

-And you're like, "We canat least slow down." -Yeah.

I love that analogy.

And this movie tells peopleeverything they need to know

about the crisis,about the solutions,

and how you personally can bea part of the solution.

-The movie opens this weekend,-Mm-hmm.

uh, all over the country. is whereyou can get advance tickets.

Did I mention the website? Uh...

-You-you just did now, yes.-Oh, oh, yeah., that's...

-I wanted to make sure that...-You just did.

(laughter, applause)

Thank you so muchfor being on the show.

Thank you for your work.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

is now in select cities andopens nationwide on August 12.

Be sure to watch MTV's An Inconvenient Special town hall

with Al Gore,August 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Former Vice President Al Gore,everybody.

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