In a bizarre turn of events, former politician turned climate change activist Al Gore met with president-elect Donald Trump Monday in New York, an unusual pairing given the former vice president’s role as a leading global warming advocate, and Trump’s previous remarks as a climate change denier.
There was no official agenda released regarding the surprise sit-down. According to most reports, Trump was not even scheduled to attend. His daughter Ivanka, who is a member of the transition team, was on tap for the meeting. Gore did not elaborate on what he and Trump discussed, only offering a slightly cryptic description.
“I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued,” he said.
The meeting at Trump Tower showed an interest in environmental policies that are in direct contradiction to Trump’s pro-growth, anti-regulation agenda.
The president-elect has yet to nominate a new EPA administrator, but Myron Ebell, who is in change of the EPA transition team, is a red flag for environmentalists. Ebell is a climate change skeptic who believes that even if weather patterns are changing, people should not be worried.
“There is much evidence that the mild global warming that has occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-nineteenth century has been largely beneficial for humanity and the biosphere,” he said. “Earth is greening, food production has soared, and human longevity has increased dramatically.”
Ebell has notably strong ties to both the coal and oil industries.
Even though the majority of scientists agree that global warming is not only happening, but that everyone should be concerned, Trump is wishy-washy on the phenomenon. After meeting with President Obama in November, he seemed to soften his once seemingly hard-line view, saying, “I’m looking at it very closely. I have an open mind to it.”
Regardless of his views, it might already be too late.
“Coastal communities in New England are already trying to figure out how to engage with people in their towns about addressing climate risks,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Lawrence Susskind. “It’s no longer just about mitigation, it’s about adaptation. And when there’s a risk, you have to take adaptation measures.”
[New York Times] [The Hill] [National Public Radio] [Washington Post] [BBC] [Christian Science Monitor] [Photo courtesy Neon Nettle]