CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: This is her bet, this is her plan. And as we`ve heard, as just the other day, in fact, this morning, saying to a fellow Democratic senator -- yesterday actually, moving to Iowa. And there she is moving out. This race is still wide open. Buttigieg could win out there, she could went out there. Watch Iowa. It`s only a few months away.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. All in with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What you are telling me is that this is tough. Yes, I knowledge that.
HAYES: 2020 candidates converge on the nation`s capital to take action on the climate crisis.
ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s even worse than you think.
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need an intervention and we need it now.
MICHAEL BENNET (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should stop lying to the next generation.
HAYES: Plus, big oil news. Our report on how the fossil fuel industry knew what they were doing to the planet and spent decades misleading the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect the global climate.
HAYES: And interview the man who spent 30 years fighting for action, former Vice President Al Gore.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: That kind of a dam is breaking and people are changing swiftly.
HAYES: The special edition of ALL THE Climate Crisis starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Washington, D.C. I`m Chris Hayes. We`re live here at MSNBC`s Climate Change Presidential Forum from the campus of Georgetown University outside the McCourt School of Public Policy.
We`ve been speaking to 2020 candidates all day about the single biggest threat facing this country in this world. And right now, I think it`s fair to say there were an inflection point. Tomorrow, people around the world and hundreds of countries and cities of all over the place will participate in the global climate strike to protest the use of fossil fuels, a movement that has grown astonishingly rapidly.
Then after that, the United Nations Climate Action Summit begins next week. And the public politics and the nation have never been more focused on this issue in its history. This new political focus is partly being driven by just what we`re seeing in front of our eyes.
Here`s just an example. This is an extreme weather event, just today, around Houston. That`s today that just snuck up on everyone. Images of flooded neighborhoods, cars driving on expressways underwater, the streets underneath water, insane.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States is not just inactive on climate change, he`s not just indifferent on climate change, he`s working every possible angle to make it worse. Just yesterday, President Trump barred the state of California from being able to set its own stricter fuel efficiency standards.
The stakes have never been higher. What you`re seeing happen in real-time is this issue take on a status and a life that is now making it a priority for all the democrats running for president.
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BENNET: We need a durable solution. We needed a solution that will endure. And if we accept the political system, the one that McConnell has devised and the one that Trump has inherited, where you either get nothing done or you get something done, and then two years later, the other side just rips it out. You can`t solve climate change.
Climate change is a matter for a generation. And we should stop whining to the next generation about what`s required here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know that you love electric vehicles and you think it`s awesome. If you are the President of the United States, will you lead by example and order an electric presidential vehicle?
YANG: Yes, I will. And I`ll go even better, the entire White House motor pool will be electric. There`s a proverb that says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. We should have been doing this work 20 years ago but the second-best time is now.
WILLIAMSON: I want to tell the American people it`s as bad as you fear. It`s as bad as you fear. And we are going to get through this because we`re American. And we are going to have a season of repair and we are going to mobilize. And it`s not during World War Two. It wasn`t Democrats versus Republicans, left versus right. We are all Americans. And we are going to mobilize.
HAYES: What is your other conception of what executive powers are available to you if in fact, Mitch McConnell said John Delaney`s bipartisanship is not working --
JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not happening right now?
HAYES: -- not working for him.
DELANEY: So I would use every single executive authority I could possibly muster, including considering a national emergency to get this done. You asked earlier how important I think this is. That`s how important I think it is. I don`t think you do that -- there are certain things you do by executive action, your first day, Paris, methane, California, 200 other things. Most of them, by the way, are reversing things that Trump overturn.
DELANEY: I don`t think you go right to national emergency because if you do that you`re done with the Congress.
TIM RYAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody that says they know what the economy is going to look like in ten years, they`re lying, because it`s just changing too quickly. But I would just say that over -- it`s got to be something over time and we`ve got to build the green economy to where it pays, which I talk a lot about doubling union membership in the United States.
I think these jobs have got to be good, solid union middle-class jobs, because they`re not going to go from a good solid union middle-class job to a job that doesn`t pay.
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is very connected to human beings and suffering and you know, shaking up their lives and destroying the quality of life and the homeland of a lot of people. So in my immigration plan, a few months ago, in April, I actually said that we should adopt a new castle category of refugee, a climate refugee.
And then we mirrored that in our environmental or climate change action plan because I believe that the United States does have a role to play in making sure that we do our part in addition to combating the climate crisis, reversing the effects of climate change, taking people in who have been hurt and will be hurt by this.
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HAYES: We spoke to seven candidates today. We`re going to hear for another five tomorrow, including meet Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Cory Booker. We invited every single Democratic candidate, in fact, all the candidates, but the only one of the Democratic candidates polling in the top three who took us up on the offer was Senator Bernie Sanders.
Obviously he, Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren recently participated in a different climate town hall. But today was a great opportunity to hear more from a leading Democratic contender.
HAYES: Described to me when and how you came to realize just the acuity, the seriousness, the urgency of this problem.
SANDERS: Sometimes as human beings, we have a hard time imagining the future. You know, we kind of look at next year, and the year after that, it`s kind of like it was last year. But if the scientists are right, and I believe that they are, next year is not going to be like last year. And five years from now, it`s not going to be like five years before.
We are facing an unprecedented global crisis. It disturbs me very, very much that we have a president who believes that climate change is a hoax. And what disturbs me about it is that attitude, on his part, on the part of the fossil fuel industry, not only threatens the wellbeing of our country, it threatens the wellbeing of the entire world.
Unlike Trump, I do believe in science. And what I believe is if we do not have act in an incredibly aggressive way, in moving away from fossil fuels, to energy efficiency, and sustainable energy, and what makes this issue even hotter and more complicated, it`s not just an American issue, it is a global issue, we got to lead the world.
But if we do not do that, the planet that you will be inheriting and your kids and your grandchildren will be inheriting will be increasingly uninhabitable and unhealthy. And we have a moral responsibility to make sure that that does not happen. And as President, this will be a major top priority for me.
These type of extreme weather disturbances hitting us more and more frequently, with greater intensity. Think about people all over the world driven from their homes because I can`t grow crops anymore, they can`t find drinking water, they`re going to go elsewhere. And what the CIA and the Department of Defense tells us is this creates a major international national security issue when large numbers of people are migrating and fighting for land.
So here`s the point. It seems to me you can approach this problem in one of three ways. You could do what Trump does, which is basically irresponsible, and pathetic, and that is to -- and that`s be kind to him.
Or Chris, you can do what some of my colleagues do and say, look, of course, climate change is real but let`s not overdo it. You know, we have a limited amount of money to spend here and we got to be modest and we got to be realistic about it. A lot of folks are saying that. Maybe, you know, I don`t know what to tell you. I happen to believe in what the scientists are telling us. And that means that if we`re going to save the planet, we have to be extremely bold.
At the end of the day, you have executives in the fossil fuel industry and the oil companies, coal companies, gas companies, their scientists know exactly what they`re doing. In fact that, did you know, there`s strong evidence that Exxon Mobil, their scientists were telling them that for decades that the product that they are producing is destroying the planet.
So how do you deal with executives who are in companies making billions of dollars a year in profit, and the product that they are producing, oh, happens to be destroying the planet, you got that? You got to deal with that. And we not only are going to have to tell them that they cannot destroy the planet for their short term profits, politically, we`re going to have to stand up to them.
And essentially what my campaign is about whether it`s the fossil fuel industry, or the healthcare industry, which made 100 billion in profits last year, or the private prison industry which makes money by throwing Americans into jail, we have got to stand up to the greed and corruption. I know those are strong words, it makes some of you uncomfortable, all right. I don`t know how much they teach about that here in Georgetown.
What we have got to do, and as President of the United States, this is what I would do. I would make an appeal to the rest of the world and say, you know what, we are now spending as a planet, over a trillion and a half dollars a year --a year on weapons of destruction, designed to kill each other.
And maybe, maybe the horror of what climate change could do to countries all over the world, my trust under strong American leadership, bring these countries together in a way that says, you know what, instead of spending a trillion and a half on weapons of destruction, why don`t we pool our resources and fight our common enemy, which is climate change.
HAYES: There`s real devils in the details situation where you have say, I think a $50 billion climate resiliency fund, there`s a crash program to improve storage, right? All of these are enormous pools of money. And again, I think you could argue they`re there in scale to the problem. But you`re talking about administering this at a level that hasn`t been done since World War Two. It would be an enormous change in the capacity of the government.
SANDERS: Chris, what you are telling me is that this is tough.
SANDERS: I acknowledge that, OK. But what is the alternative? All right, I`m told that it is expensive and I`m told by Chris correctly so, this is administratively very, very difficult. He`s right. But you tell me what the alternative is, if we do not act boldly and aggressively.
All right, not only are we fighting for your kids and your grandchildren to be living in a planet that is healthy, and habitable, all right, but I should also tell you that this plan, Chris, in the middle of that transition, creates up to 20 million good-paying jobs. We could retrofit buildings to cut the utilization of energy by 50 percent or more. It takes a lot of workers to do that.
If we are going to be aggressive in moving to sustainable energy, wind and solar, I want those panels and other technologies to be done here in the United States of America, massive amounts of work that have to be done.
If we`re talking about the electrification of our transportation system, that means creating a new rail system in America. We are already way behind Europe and Japan in that regard. That takes an enormous amount of work building those locomotives, and those trains, especially on the Trump years. He has used executive orders very frequently and very aggressively and I certainly would do that in terms of climate change.
I work with Alexandria Cortez Ocasio in introducing legislation which would declare climate change a national emergency.
HAYES: And you would do that unilaterally and from the executive?
SANDERS: Well, I think it is a national emergency. And I would use all of the executive powers that we have.
HAYES: There`s a mentioned in the plan when you talk about certain holding fossil fuel companies accountable, we know that there are both private plaintiffs and states that are suing in a model that`s not dissimilar from the tobacco lawsuits which of course, created billions of dollars in funds and public health. Would you use the Department of Justice for litigation against fossil fuel companies?
SANDERS: Of course I would. What do you do to people who lied in a very bold-faced way? Why did the American people lie to the media? How do you hold them accountable? How do you hold fossil fuel executives who knew that they were destroying the planet, but kept on doing it? We will hold them accountable.
What do you do if executives knew that the product they were producing was destroying the planet and they continue to do it? Do you think that that might be subject to criminal charges?
HAYES: I don`t know. I`m not running for president.
SANDERS: I think it`s something we should look at. The guys work on oil rigs, people worked in coal mines, people work in the fossil fuel industry, they are not my enemy, they are my friends. And we are not going to do what others have done and turn our backs on those people.
And there`s -- you know, if you`re familiar with the lead with the proposal that I`ve introduced, we have allocated tens of billions of dollars for what we call adjust transition. And so what we`re saying to those workers, look, we don`t hold you responsible for causing climate change, all right, but we have got to move away from fossil fuel.
And what we build into our proposal is five years, five years of full pay of healthcare, of job training, of education.
HAYES: Right now, obviously, refugee -- the amount of refugees we take in is at historic lows in terms of the recent history and there`s a lot of things that can be done in the executive in terms of asylum categories. Would you favor expanding the asylum categories which are enumerated, right, to include a category for people that are specifically climate -- pushed out by climate?
SANDERS: Yes. I think that is absolutely something that we have to look at and I think I`ll be positively disposed to that. But it has to exist all over the world. What you raised, I mean, it`s not just people in Latin America who would gravitate to the United States, it is people all over the world.
And, you know, it means that we have to deal with the crises in these countries right now so the people can possibly stay there. And we have to welcome people all over the world. I mean, we`re talking about God knows how many millions and millions and millions of people who are going to be dispossessed as a result of climate change. It`s a huge issue.
HAYES: Much more tonight on this special edition of ALL IN. I`ll talk to some of these Georgetown students about who impress them today and who didn`t, plus our own report on the cover-up in the fossil fuel industry, and we`ll hear from Al Gore about his decades-long fight to move the needle on climate. All that is coming up when we come back.
HAYES: In the past few years we`ve seen a string of lawsuits targeting the fossil fuel companies. Some of the planet was making the argument that was so successful in suits against the tobacco industry basically that the companies new the threat posed by their products but misled the public and that there was -- that there was no cause for alarm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t believe that nicotine or our products are addictive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe nicotine is not addictive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that nicotine is not addictive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that nicotine is not addictive.
HAYES: Four years after tobacco executives went before Congress and claimed absurdly that their products were not addictive, the nation`s largest tobacco companies agreed to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to help pay for the damage their products had caused.
Now a similar reckoning may be coming for the nation`s fossil fuel companies. Believe it or not, the biggest oil company in the world was once a leader in climate research. In the 1970s, and 1980s, Exxon had top scientists studying the possible effects of climate change. It even modeled its research division on Bell Labs.
NEELA BANERJEE, REPORTER, INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS: The research into climate change was not something in some remote corner of Exxon. It went from Exxon scientists of the mid-level all the way up to excellence top management.
HAYES: The company was aware of the scope of the problem it faced. One internal 1979 memo warned that present trends of fossil fuel combustion with a coal emphasis will lead to dramatic world climate changes within the next 75 years and that CO2 buildup in the atmosphere is a worldwide problem.
But then something shifted in the late 1980s when the public began taking climate change more seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some experts are saying now that the whole world is heating up because of a global greenhouse effect.
GEORGE M. WOODWELL, WOODS HOLE RESEARCH CENTER: The problems on addressed have the potential for turning the world into a form of chaos not greatly different from that produced by global war.
HAYES: That`s when Exxon`s public posture changed.
BANERJEE: Exxon started to recognize that the U.N. and others were going to come up with maybe a global policy to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, and it was going to affect their bottom line. This wasn`t a remote issue anymore. It was something that they needed to address now, and they chose to address it by playing up the uncertainty and using a narrative that went counter to science.
HAYES: Exxon started spending tens of millions of dollars to manufacture doubt about climate change. The company financing advertisements designed to look like editorials and fringe research all meant to question the growing scientific consensus.
LEE RAYMOND, FORMER CEO, EXXON: Scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect the global climate. Many scientists agree there`s ample time to better understand climate systems and consider policy options. So there`s simply no reason to take drastic action now.
HAYES: Thanks in no small part to Exxon`s efforts, US lawmakers did not take serious action to fight climate change. And by the year 2010, nearly half of Americans believe the threat of global warming was exaggerated. Now, a string of lawsuits is seeking to hold Exxon and other companies responsible.
Last year, crab fishermen on the West Coast sued, seeking compensation for damage to crab populations caused by warming oceans. More than a dozen cities and counties have filed lawsuits seeking billions to offset the cost of mitigating climate change.
And three states launched investigations into Exxon and other oil companies with New York and Rhode Island filing suit last year. As the court battles have ramped up, a warming world has been left to wonder what might have been.
BANERJEE: What is Exxon had continued down the path of accepting climate change, being a good-faith actor and all this working with the government? Where would we be right now the biggest oil company in the world, a leader in industry had done that? And so that`s the question, right, where would we be right now?
HAYES: Up next, my interview with the man who has been sounding the alarm for decades, former Vice President Al Gore, the evolution of the climate discussion and what`s changed the crucial work to be done now.
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GORE: Individuals can`t do it on their own. I mean, that`s not meaningless but as important as it might be to change the light bulbs is way more important to change the policies and the laws.
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GORE: The Arctic is experiencing faster melting. If this were to go, sea level worldwide would go up 20 feet. This is what would happen in Florida. Around Shanghai, home to 40 million people. The area around Calcutta 60 million.
Here`s Manhattan, the World Trade Center Memorial would be under water. Think of the impact a couple hundred thousand refugees, and then imagine 100 million.
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HAYES: It`s been 13 years since the groundbreaking film called An Inconvenient Truth first hit theaters. It starred former Vice President of the United States Al Gore who in the years since has not stopped fighting for action on climate change. I sat down for an exclusive interview this week with Al Gore in his office in Nashville, Tennessee.
HAYES: One thing I keep sort of focusing on is there`s this gap growing -- I mean, the public opinion is moving quite swiftly right now in a way -- I mean, just as an empirical matter you`re getting 70 percent, 80 percent numbers.
GORE: 60 percent of Republicans.
HAYES: 60 percent of Republicans. It`s moving up the priority list of Democratic voters, right? So not only do you see more and more.
GORE: One of the other network polls in the summer said it was the number one issue among registered Democrats.
HAYES: So that`s happening at the sort of -- from the perspective of mass opinion. You`re also seeing all this organizing happening.
But you have a U.S. administration and a president who`s -- it`s not just that he`s doing nothing, who is -- he`s almost in a sociopathic way seemingly bent on making the problem worse in every possible way.
GORE: Yeah, it`s -- it has a strange aspect to it because he will say, for example, I want crystal clean water even as he`s stripping the protections for clean water. And there`s just like an overload of outrage.
I mean I -- when a new one comes along every few hours now I have to download some existing outrage to make room for the new outrage. And in a way you have to wonder if that`s not a strategy actually.
HAYES: The Democratic primary has been very focused on climate.
HAYES: What do you think about the Green New Deal as a kind of organizing concept, set of principles, for the debate that has been taking place within the Democratic primary?
GORE: Yeah, I like it a lot. And I`m very mindful of the persistence sniping at it, and the criticism of it. I like how it links environmental justice and the fight against inequality and emphasizes the jobs that really and truly there, I mean solar installer is the fastest growing job in the U.S. for the last five years, it has grown six times faster than average job growth. The second fastest growing job is wind turbine technician. We could retrofit buildings in every community.
It also reminds me -- I`m a good deal older than you, but it reminds me of something called the nuclear freeze. Back in the early` `80s when Ronald Reagan had come in discussing the evil empire and building -- you know, restarting the arms race, people began to get really worried. And there was an emergent grass roots movement called the nuclear freeze.
And just as it has been the case with the Green New Deal, the expert community started sniping at it. Where are all the details? This doesn`t make sense. But it was simple and clear, easy to grasp, and overwhelming majorities of the American people said, yeah, I`m for a nuclear freeze.
And it played a role, a nontrivial role, in helping to change the policy context in which Ronald Reagan changed and became a devotee of nuclear arms control and reached historic agreements with his counterpart in the Soviet Union.
So, I`m really kind of thinking of the Green New Deal in a similar way. IT has majority support in the polls. And people criticize it -- now there wasn`t Fox News back then and you have this persistent drum beat, but I do think that it`s a very positive development.
HAYES: You know, you obviously have a very long career in public life. And when you were a senator and presidential candidate and even when you joined the ticket as vice president, you know, you were a member of the DLC, you were viewed as kind of a centrist part of the party, that Democratic Party, that some within in the party felt moved too far to the left, that had hurt them politically, that there was also a need for a -- there was a kind of ideological rot, right, a sort of more friendly approach towards markets.
I`m curious how you think of yourself ideologically, and if thinking as you have for 30 years about the climate issue has changed the way you think more broadly ideologically about the role of the state and the role of markets?
GORE: A very thoughtful question.
But before I get to the part about how my involvement with climate has affected this, I`ll tell you this, even though along with Bill Clinton I was identified with the DLC -- the Democratic Leadership Counsel -- and the impulse to say, hey, look, if Democrats are going to win elections, we`re really going to have to emphasize a pragmatic approach here.
And as vice president, I ran the reinventing government project that cut waste and regulations that were unnecessary, but in the process made government work better for the people. I was -- I was troubled that the net result of many trends -- I thought our policies were very good, but the rise of economic inequality led me to frame my campaign for a president in the year 2000 as a champion of the people, not the powerful. And I was harshly criticized by my former companions in the DLC for going a little bit more to the left of center.
But I really genuinely thought that it was time to take a count of the rise in inequality and the rise in a sense of powerlessness on the part of so many working people.
Now, to the point of your question, there`s no doubt that when you get deeply immersed in trying to help solve the climate crisis you do come to understand the absolute necessity of a strong national government role in changing policies, because individuals can`t do it on their own. I mean, that`s not meaningless.
But as important as it might be to change the light bulbs, it`s way more important to change the policies and the laws. And that requires a strong policy leadership role in Washington, D.C. especially from the president, but also in the congress.
HAYES: Still ahead, much more of my exclusive interview with Al Gore, including what he thinks about some of the people we just heard from in the forum today.
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HAYES: Is there someone in the Democratic field that you feel best gets this problem, centers this problem, that you`re the most confident -- and I`m not asking for an endorsement.
GORE: Oh, it sounded like that. You`re asking me to pick one and avoid the word endorsement if I wish.
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HAYES: We are back here in Georgetown with the second part of my interview with former Vice President Al Gore who spoke to me what we need to do to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
HAYES: You`ve been very focused in the work that you`ve done on not letting people sort of succumb to the gloom and doom. You`re very focused on optimism. And I watched as you`ve gone through charts about adoption of like, you know, alternative energy. And it`s also the case that like, you know, oil emissions have doubled in what, the last 30 years. They keep going up. What do you do with that?
Like, there`s a part of critique that says it`s all broken, it`s all going in the wrong way. We`re all deluding ourselves. Something truly disruptive and radical has to happen.
GORE: Yeah, well, I believe that. But how do you get from here to there? There`s no doubt, first of all, that when the future of humanity is at risk, despair is simply another form of denial.
It`s also true that anyone offering a Pollyannish version of false hope is also engaging in an exotic form of denial. The truth is this, we have suffered losses, some of which regrettably are unrecoverable. There are more losses yet to come that are now inevitable no matter what we do. That`s the truth of our situation.
But we still retain the ability, according to virtually every scientist, and expert in this field that I know, to avoid the truly catastrophic civilization ending consequences that would occur were we not to act. So being honest with ourselves about the damage that has been done has to be accompanied by an absolute character-based determination to say hell yes we`re going to do our best and we`re going to get started as quickly as we can and do it as well as we can.
And I don`t know any other way to do it. I also believe that in the famous phrase of Rudy Dornbush, the late economist at MIT, things take longer to happen than you think they will, but then they happen faster than you thought they could.
And I`ll give you a couple of statistics. Just five years ago, one year before the Paris agreement, electricity from solar and wind was the cheapest source in only 1 percent of the world. Today, five years later, it`s the cheapest source of electricity in two-thirds of the world. In another five years, that will be true virtually ever where.
In another 10 years, it is projected to be cheaper than electricity from existing fully depreciated fossil fuel plants, some of which are already being shutdown with useful life remaining, because it`s just cheaper to get electricity from the sun and the wind coupled with battery storage, which is also coming down in price.
Now, it`s definitely true that the optimism about that is based on new installations, but it`s now beginning to shift over to the closing of existing fossil fuel plants. You can look at electric grid transportation, same story with electric vehicles.
Sixteen countries have enacted policies requiring the legal phase out, make it illegal after a certain date, to sell gasoline or diesel engines, requiring electric vehicles. Within five years, half the buses in the world are going to be electric.
Now, is it happening fast enough? No. And this is not speak of manufacturing and regenerative agriculture, and sustainable forestry, and all the things that have to be done. And, yes, it`s an externality that has to be priced, but also we have a whole system for measuring what`s valuable to us that doesn`t just exclude the polluting consequences of carbon dioxide, but excludes the value of everything that`s not easily monetized and financialized. And we have to change that system as well.
HAYES: Final question for you, is there someone in the Democratic field that you feel best gets this problem, centers this problem, that you`re the most confident? I`m not asking for an endorsement.
GORE: Oh, it sounded like that.
HAYES: I`m asking.
GORE: Are you just asking me to pick one and then avoid the word endorsement if I wish.
HAYES: I`m asking -- look, I think if you take the problem seriously, as seriously as certainly you do, and I think increasingly younger people do, that the next president of the United States, if, you know, if it`s not this one, is basically going to have to wake up every morning with this the first thing they think about. There is just no way around that.
Is there someone in the field, or are there multiple people in the field, that you feel confident that that`s the case about?
GORE: Well, forgive me for really and truly avoiding singling out one candidate. I`m trying to not do that for a lot of reasons. But I`m tell you this, I am really impressed that virtually all the candidates in this field have made the climate crisis a top priority, some of them the top priority, so many of them have presented elaborate plans in sufficient detail that it would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. And I think that it`s reshaping the political dialog between the two parties.
We talk about polling earlier, you know, 67 percent, more than two-thirds, of Millennial, Republican registered voters say, hey, this party has got to change on climate. Multiples of the chapters of the College Young Republicans have petitioned the RNC to change its climate policy and warned it that they`re going to lose young voters if they do not.
We`re seeing a real sea change here, and the aphorism from Rudy Dornbush that I mentioned earlier is now playing out in the political world as well.
It took a long time without much change, but now I think things are changing, a kind of a dam is breaking, and people are changing swiftly.
HAYES: Vice President Al Gore, it`s a great pleasure. Thank you very much.
GORE: Always, thank you.
HAYES: Thanks a lot.
HAYES: Our climate special continues live from Georgetown next. Some of these students here who were at the 2020 forum today. Their reaction to candidates right after this.
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QUINN EVAN, FRESHMAN: Hi, senator. My name is Quinn Evan. I`m a student at Georgetown studying history.
EVAN: My question for you is why did you vote for the Keystone pipeline?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As fossil fuel jobs are replaced by environmentally sustainable jobs, as president, how do you plan to make sure that these workers are trained to compete in a new greener industry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Recently, the International Organization for Migration has projected that between 25 million and 1.5 billion people will have to leave their homes by 2050 due to climate change. People from the poorest and smallest nations will likely be forced to migrate first.
As the United States is leading the world in carbon emissions, what role do you believe the United States must play in regards to these inevitable climate migrants?
HAYES: Great question.
SANDERS: That is a great question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Minority and low-income neighborhoods and communities in transition are disproportionately targeted by industries that follow the path of least resistance when deciding where to locate hazardous waste sites and other polluting facilities. How will you regulate these corporate actions in order to fight environmental, racial and socioeconomic injustice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What measures would you take not only to reduce CO2 emissions, but day-to-day, outdoor and indoor workers from these heat illnesses?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We are back here in Georgetown University. And I`m joined by a bunch of students. We had a forum this morning. We had a whole bunch of candidates talking. We got to talk to them for 30 minutes, my colleague Ali Velshi and I. And then these students asked, as you can see, from that clip, a bunch of incredible questions. I just wanted to check in with them and see what you thought.
You were at the forum?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
HAYES: Anyone particularly strong to you today, is anyone sort of you felt stood out?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say Bernie Sanders. I mean, it`s clear that everyone is passionate about climate change -- thank you -- but it has to be Bernie Sanders who is the most passionate out of all.
But I still keep asking who has the actual policy changes that are realistic, that will bring the change even if it`s radical, it has to be realistic.
HAYES: But do you worry about -- I mean, how much do you think about the political constraints, which I think a lot of people get obsessed with, including myself, understandably, but how much do you think about when you`re hearing whether it`s Bernie Sanders or others do you think, like, oh, well, is Mitch McConnell going to go for that, and we`ll be able to get the votes for that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually do think about it. We just have to be realistic about it. It`s just -- we just have to be realistic about it. We want to bring the climate changes as soon as possible and U.S. being a global superpower, it`s U.S. that`s going to make the changes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But the problem is, bipartisan politics is difficult.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we have to be realistic about which policies will pass.
HAYES: You were also at the forum today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was.
HAYES: Was there a policy or an answer that was given today that stuck out to you particularly?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say more of, like, Bernie Sanders was very much hard on climate change which I think is good. But I believe Julian Castro was really stood out because he was one of the people who mentioned about environmental racism. This is effecting people of color more than anything else, and I think that a lot of people who tend to be Republicans tend to forget that and they leave us out of the narrative. People usually don`t listen to low income people -- like people of color, so I think that emphasizing that this is effecting us, no one is going to really care until it starts hitting them.
HAYES: How old are you? Can I talk to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m 21. I just turned 21.
HAYES: So, are you going to vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Huh? Pardon?
HAYES: So, you are going to vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course.
HAYES: Are you going to vote in the primary?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am going to vote in the primary.
HAYES: Do you have a -- are you an undecided voter or you have a candidate that you`re looking at?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am. I`m stuck between Elizabeth Warren and Castro, so I`m -- let me see what happens with both.
HAYES: Thanks a lot. How about you? You were there today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yep.
HAYES: What do you think about the gap that we kept sort of coming back to between what has to be done and what our politics can do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what was said a moment ago that, you know, even if something is radical, we have to take the change that is -- even if isn`t immediately seeming politically feasible, we need to take the biggest steps that we can immediately to try and change this world before things fall apart. Major issues like the -- the major issues that come from climate change like mass migration, people having to lose their homes with just the way that our world is going to change in future generations being impacted in a way that we can`t imagine, radical is right.
HAYES: So you want to see pushing big ideas, you want to see them going out past the frontiers and what might be possible and then if they have to compromise, that`s all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely. Yes.
HAYES: How much do you, like, in your inner psychological life worry about climate change? I mean, it seriously. I mean, it is a source of anxiety for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say so. I mean, you think about things like down the road 25, 50 years from now when you`re growing up -- when you`re getting older and have a family, when you have kids, and you start to wonder will my kids have a planet, will my kids have the same -- we imagine that they won`t have the same world that we do and it`s really up to, like, our current leaders to pick up where the past has dropped off and run with the ball, right? Like we need to make -- take action now because of that enormous anxiety that is resting -- I can imagine a lot of our -- in our heads at this time.
So I`d say it`s a big worry.
HAYES: Thanks, really well done.
I`m going to ask you that same question. You were at the forum today, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was.
HAYES: Do you -- do you -- how much do you follow this issue, how much do you think about it, how much does it occupy mental space for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It completely occupies my thoughts. I`m here at Georgetown to study climate policy. I`m at the School of Foreign Service, because the U.S. needs to be a leader and work with countries all over to address this issue.
HAYES: What did you think of the discussion today about the international dimensions? Because we kept coming back to that. Obviously, it`s an enormous part of it, the U.S. is about 20 percent of emissions at this point. Were there ideas there you liked, ideas you didn`t like, things that stuck out?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did appreciate there was an international discussion, especially because climate change is a national security issue. We saw that especially from Julian Castro looking at climate refugees.
But I think plans are great. We need to know we`re going to make this a commitment. Will this be their top priority? Will they use their political capital in their first year to enact comprehensive climate change?
And how will they do that if it`s a divided congress? It comes down to if they can make it happen.
HAYES: Do you feel -- we`re pushing everyone on is it a top priority, and some people said yes, and some people kind of wavered. Did you feel -- did anyone convince you clearly, yes, this will be the first issue, this is the first piece of legislation they`re going to move, this is the first thing they think of when they wake up in the morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Senator Sanders did. But I want to acknowledge that Senator Bennett had some really great thoughts on how to reform our democracy with gerrymandering and the filibuster, and it`s all going to be necessary to make this happen.
HAYES: All right, very quickly, you`re wearing a Pete shirt, but did anyone impress you today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Sanders talked about climate justice today. I think this is a generational thing. We`re the students who when we`re adults climate change will be hitting hardest, so that`s with why I am most looking forward to seeing Mayor Pete tomorrow and talk about winning the next era for us to have to deal with climate change in the future.
HAYES: Well, that very, very does a very good job of setting up my tease for tomorrow.
So that -- so well done, everybody.
Give these folks a big round of applause. That does it for us tonight. Live from the campus of Georgetown University. But we`re not done. We have much more tomorrow night in part two of our special on the climate crisis. We`re going to have reporters that are stationed around the world covering everything from how climate change is affecting migration from Guatemala to melting landscapes of Greenland, rising sea levels, to the massive flooding on the Mississippi, to the disappearing namesakes of Glacier National Park, to the utterly insane situation with California`s emissions standards and the president.
And, of course, we`ll have the highlights from day two of our 2020 candidate forum, the full forum will be streaming live on NBC News now starting at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. Thanks so much to everyone who joined us here tonight at Georgetown. We really appreciate it. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now with some breaking news. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END