According to Al Gore, the odds are good that the US will stay in the Paris climate agreement
— something that has been debated extensively within the Trump White House.
During the TED 2017 conference in Vancouver, Canada, Al Gore came onstage for a surprise question-and-answer session with TED curator Chris Anderson.
Gore, who has spoken with the Trump administration about climate issues, told the audience, “I think there is a better than 50/50 chance that the Trump administration will decide to stay in the Paris Agreement. There’s a debate taking place inside the White House tomorrow, and a decision due to be announced the third week in May before the G20 meeting.”
The Paris Agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016. The 144 countries that have ratified the agreement all pledged to do their part to keep the earth’s temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit. Each country submitted a plan for its contributions to this effort, though the accord doesn’t include concrete mechanisms for enforcing those commitments beyond transparency requirements.
Even if the US does not attempt to withdraw from the agreement, President Trump is unlikely to prioritise the US’ pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
But Al Gore, who is releasing a Trump-focused sequel to his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” said he’s still hopeful for the future of the planet. “On a global basis, I’m convinced we are in the early years of a sustainability revolution…with the scope and magnitude of the industrial revolution but the speed of a digital revolution.”
A large-scale shift is indeed evident when looking at the growth of renewable energy worldwide. Solar-energy jobs have been growing 12 times as fast as the US economy overall, and GE launched the country’s largest offshore wind farm in December 2016. A majority of Americans currently believe climate change will impact the country.
“My optimism is based on the continuing momentum in the rise of public awareness,” Gore said. “We have to stop the pattern of behaviour that’s creating this crisis. In order to fix the climate crisis, we have to fix the democracy crisis.”
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