- Shutterstock for Advertising Week Europe
LONDON – Former US vice president Al Gore believes there is a still a “realistic chance” President Trump will decide not to pull the US out of the Paris climate change agreement.
Trump has previously called climate change a “hoax” and promised during his election campaign to pull the US out of the agreement, which was signed in 2015 by almost 200 countries, who have committed to drastically reducing their emissions by 2025.
Speaking at Advertising Week Europe on Thursday, Gore said: “I think there is still a realistic chance that President Trump will decide not to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement. That decision has not been made, but there is an active debate in his inner circle. I have some visibility to that debate, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think there is still some chance he will not pull out of the Paris Agreement.”
Gore continued that Trump is “seemingly determined to eliminate all the government programs he can eliminate” that would help the US reach its goals. Earlier this month, for example, Trump announced plans to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31% – or $2.6 billion.
However, Gore said the “speed of transformation in the US,” as individual states, cities, and businesses move towards using renewable energy sources, means the US may reach its target of reducing its emissions by at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025 regardless of what Trump is doing.
“The State of California, the State of New York, quite a lot of other State governments now have the bit in their teeth and they are now moving much faster than the former President Obama’s clean power plan would have had them move anyway,” Gore said.
Earlier in the interview with Empire magazine editor Terri White to promote his forthcoming documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power,” Gore was asked about his fears around environment budget cut funding.
Gore responded that this wasn’t the first time there have been “setbacks and challenges” to overcome on environmental issues.
“I look at it as another obstacle to surmount,” Gore said. “We have in the US, checks and balances, as you know, and the Congress – even though we have some problems there as well – the Congress may not go along with what he is recommending. There is a vote today in the Congress on another matter involving healthcare. Who knows what’s going to happen, but predictions are that the Congress is not going to accept what he is recommending. The same may be true or likely will be true for a number of his recommendations on the environment and climate”
Gore noted that there have been 30 Republican members of the House of Representatives who have “changed sides” on the climate change issue.
“We only now need a few more to have a working majority on this issue in the US Congress. There are about 10 Republican senators who right now are considering changing sides. A couple already have. We are going to win this – there’s no question about that,” Gore said.
Gore appeared at the London event a day after the city was hit by a terror attack. At least five people have died and some 40 people were injured after a lone attacker used a car to mow down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, then went on to stab a police officer to death outside Parliament.
The former vice president opened the session by sharing his condolences: “All Americans stand in solidarity with the UK, especially in a moment like this, in a time of tremendous challenges. And I think establishing a commitment to the future is actually one of the essential prerequisites for getting forward momentum, and I think that applies to a lot of the challenges we face.”