Andrea Mitchell Reports, 1/30/13, 7:00 PM ET

Gore on the environment: ‘We need to act quickly’

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell talks with former Vice President Al Gore about the future of climate change and why it was important that President Barack Obama mentioned it during his inaugural speech.

Al Gore: Very Significant Obama Put Climate Change in his Inaugural Address

Updated
By Oliver Cox

Former Vice President Al Gore, arguably the loudest voice on the issue of climate change, told Andrea Mitchell that he thinks there is still time to avoid the worst effects of the changing climate. He said, “We do need to act quickly. We’re putting an extra 90 million tons of heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere every day, as if it’s an open sewer.”

Last week, President Barack Obama stated in his second inaugural address, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Mr. Gore said he thought it was very significant for the president to directly mention climate change in his inaugural address. Gore said, “He will have to follow up on this.” Adding:

“He has to speak about it over and over again and lead a national conversation and work with the Congress to pass legislation that will directly or indirectly put a price on carbon. I also would like to see him use his presidential authority in the EPA to regulate emissions, global warming pollution from coal plants.”


In his new book, The Future, Gore blasts the news media for being largely sponsored by fuel companies with “messages designed to soothe and reassure the audience that everything is fine (pg. 325).”

In recent weeks, Gore has been criticized for the $500 million sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, a news organization which is owned and funded by the oil-producing nation of Qatar.

Qatar, a country smaller than the state of Connecticut, sits on the world’s third-largest proved reserve of natural gas and was ranked the wealthiest nation per-capita in 2012.

As a reported 20% stakeholder of Current, it’s estimated that Gore personally banked $100 million from the sale to Al Jazeera. Andrea Mitchell asked, “Isn’t there something inherently hypocritical about taking money, and a lot of money, from an oil producer?” Gore responded, “The point you are making is one that I understand very, very clearly. I do disagree with it.” Gore went on to praise the content of Al Jazeera without acknowledging the source of its funding.

Mitchell went on to ask Gore about what it was like to concede to former President George W. Bush in the 2000 election, knowing he had won the popular vote. Gore jokingly responded:

“Upon investigation I confirmed that there is no intermediate step between a final Supreme Court decision and violent revolution. And so what I did was maybe best summarized by Winston Churchill in his famous description of Americans, ‘They generally do the right thing after first exhausting every available alternative.’”

Explore:

Al Gore: Very Significant Obama Put Climate Change in his Inaugural Address

Updated