The former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore greeted a boisterous San Francisco audience around midday today at the Commonwealth Club. Gore is in town to promote his new documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”
The film highlights what he calls, the real energy revolution. He’s optimistic sustainable trends can help fend off the dark warnings he made a decade ago in his first film “An Inconvenient Truth.”
As the lights dimmed on a packed crowd, the new films' trailer opened with Gore thundering, “It is right to save humanity! It is wrong to pollute planet Earth. It is right to give hope to future generations."
The film follows Gore around the globe while he reports on the calamities of climate change but also illustrates places where renewable energy is taking hold. A key moment illustrates his role in convincing India to sign onto the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.
The film is interspersed with clips from President Donald Trump actively questioning the existence of global warming. There’s a cut of Trump on the campaign trail bellowing, "Our plan will end the EPA.”
The sold out crowd was delighted when Commonwealth Club emcee Greg Dalton stumbled over Trump's name, Gore joked, “you almost choked on that”. The room filled with snickers.
When Dalton asked Gore about Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement, the former vice president lowered his eyes, "I was very worried," Gore said. "I thought there was a chance he would come to his senses, but I was wrong. When he made his speech I was deeply concerned that other countries might use it as an excuse to pull out of the agreement."
Gore said he was surprised and relieved that wasn't the case. "It's almost as if they [other countries] were saying 'We’ll show you Donald Trump.'"
Gore praised California's environmental efforts both at the event and this morning while speaking on KQED’s morning talk show “Forum.” He commended California's 'political defiance' under the Trump administration.
"California has shown that when you show leadership on climate, it helps the economy," adding, "we're going to win this in spite of Donald Trump."
He highlighted several local examples like Jerry Brown’s extension last week on the state's Cap-and-Trade Program, and the commitment from both Apple and Google to honor the tenets of the Paris climate agreement regardless of what’s happening at the White House.
“All over the world we are seeing that the sustainability revolution and the renewable energy and efficiency actually represents the brightest potential for creating tens of millions of new jobs and restoring some dynamism for sustainable growth,” said Gore.
The former vice president ended on a note of optimism. "We’re gonna win this," Gore said about fighting climate change. "The question is whether we win this in time.”