At the presentation of his new film 'An Inconvenient Sequel' Al Gore keeps faith in the resilience of America's civil society

‘Trump is a setback, but I’ve seen worse setbacks’

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Published in Climate Action by

‘The US will meet its commitments [on emissions] in spite of Donald Trump,’ former US presidential candidate Al Gore said last Friday in London, where he presented his new film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. Although Gore has been warning for the catastrophic consequences of climate change since his defeat in the presidential election, he apparently still can see the positive side of things. At WDCD we appreciate that.

Trump’s election and his actions on the climate change front are a setback, Gore admitted according to the Guardian, ‘but not the worst setback we have received. I have seen a lot of setbacks over the years. The damage I feared Trump would do has turned out to be less than I feared.’

Gore said he was extremely gratified that no other countries followed Trump’s example to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change. This fact will send the psychological message to America that the train has left, he said. ‘The signal sent to investors, businesses, individuals and civil society is extraordinarily powerful.’

Climate change is here

In the meantime, the other signal the Americans have to deal with is the message from a draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies unveiled by The New York Times last week. The Congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA) report concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, the report says, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years.

‘Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,’ the scientists write. They have no doubt whether the changes are human induced: ‘Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change’.

Unprecedented sea level rise

In an analysis of the report the website ThinkProgress comes to the conclusion that climate change could be a lot worse for America than you thought. ‘In essence, the study lays out the choice between manageable warming (if we embrace and then keep strengthening the Paris climate agreement) and unmanageable catastrophe (if we pursue Trump’s policies of undoing global and U.S. climate action).’

ThinkProgress points at predictions of sea level rise at an unprecedented rate of 8 inches per decade by 2050 and 14 inches by 2090 as well as serious to devastating drops in soil moisture most of the year, if greenhouse gas emissions won’t drop.

In other words, whatever the Trump administration will or won’t do, individual Americans, communities and companies will have to react on their own account to adapt to new realities and to counter climate change’s effects. All ideas that can help with this are welcome. Enter them before 24 September to the WDCD Climate Action Challenge.

Top image: Al Gore in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

 

Global temperatures since 1880 compared to 1901-1960 average. (National Climate Assessment draft report)

Global temperatures since 1880 compared to 1901-1960 average. (National Climate Assessment draft report)

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