Though in recent years the climate change issue has disappeared from the forefront (and former Vice President Al Gore has found himself criticizing Democratic President Barack Obama for not being more aggressive on the issue), on Tuesday night’s coverage of the New Hampshire primary on Current TV, Gore insisted it should be part of the 2012 campaign.
“It should be in the presidential campaign,” Gore said. “And it is not at present. Not a single question was asked about climate in any of the numerous, multitudinous debates that these candidates have had. And yet in the year 2011, the United States of America had more than 12 climate-related disasters that cost over a billion dollars. The state of Texas has had the worst drought in its history. It is climate-related. Out of 254 counties, 252 are on fire. 2010 was the hottest year ever recorded. We have record melting of the volume of ice in the Arctic Ocean, dramatically powerful storms, in Pakistan, Australia, the Northeast. Record flooding in the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers, and the list goes on. And it’s consistent with what the scientific community has been warning us.”
Gore added that the future of civilization was “at risk” if the issue continues to be neglected.
“I’ll finish with this, because I know that it’s outside the so-called Overton window — the so-called space that’s considered legitimate for political discussion,” Gore said. “But we as a free-governing people, in the one nation with the best chance to lead the world at a moment when the future of civilization is at risk, we have to find a way to not only talk about — but effectively deal with — this issue. We’re putting 90 million tons of extra global warming pollution into the atmosphere every 24 hours, and we’re making it much worse. We have to come to grips with this, and in the midst of all the discussion about political strategies, and which candidate is up and which candidate is down, we have to push the agenda of real self-governance forward and grapple with the issues that matter the most.”
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Gore gave Obama some credit for some of the small initiatives he has taken, but he added that he hoped the president will make it an issue in the campaign.
“I hope so,” Gore replied. “I really hope so. I was disappointed in Jon Huntsman for reversing his position when he was the only one of the Republicans that had it right. And I’ve expressed in the past some disappointment that President Obama has not done more on this issue. But he did pass an act: The regulation that cuts mercury from coal. It’s a major step forward. He got the biggest increase in mileage standards for automobiles. And so I want to give credit where it’s due. But the main part of this issue is not being addressed. And it must be addressed, and I hope that he will in the campaign this year.”