Al Gore blasts Trump environmental speech that fails to mention climate change

Former Vice President Al Gore denounced the “misleading false claims” in a speech on the environment by President Trump Monday that failed to mention climate change.

Touting U.S. exports of natural gas, Trump portrayed the energy source as “clean,” which drew a quick rebuke from Gore on Twitter.

Natural gas is “clean” in the sense that unlike coal it does not pollute the air with soot or sulfur dioxide. But it is a potent greenhouse gas itself, and burning it, like burning coal, produces carbon dioxide. Trump consistently conflates the two forms of pollution.

“Partly due to pervasive leaks, natural gas is just as bad as coal, heating up our planet and polluting our communities,” Gore, a leading voice in the fight against climate change, continued. “Anything less than urgent support for clean energy solutions and the jobs they create is grossly irresponsible and a failure of leadership.”

Former Vice President Al Gore (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Neither Trump nor the cabinet secretaries who spoke at Monday’s event ever mentioned rising global temperatures caused by human activity. Instead, the president made the case that Americans didn’t have to choose between a healthy environment and robust economic growth.

He boasted of withdrawing the United States from the “very, very expensive Paris climate accord,” and decried the Green New Deal as “not affordable even in the best of times.”

“The United States does not have to sacrifice our own jobs in order to lead the world on the environment,” Trump added.

The closest Trump came to an acknowledgement of the view held by the overwhelming majority of scientists — that global carbon emissions threaten the very existence of life on earth — was in the form of self-congratulation.

“Since 2000, our nation’s energy-related carbon emissions have declined more than any other country on earth. Think of that. Emissions are projected to drop in 2019 and 2020,” Trump said.

Trump didn’t mention that the decline in carbon emissions largely coincided with the economic recession, and that in 2018, CO2 emissions in America rose by an alarming 3.4 percent.

Indeed, Trump’s speech came on a day that record rainfall in the nation’s capital flooded roads, spilled into the White House basement and knocked out power to the National Archives.

“American voters aren’t fooled by the President’s attempts to cover up his failed environmental record. Millions are suffering from devastating heat waves, flooded agricultural lands, 60 large wildfires across nearly a dozen states, and more impacts of the climate crisis,” Gore tweeted, adding, “President Trump is refusing to see reality. Eliminating protections while mouthing misleading false claims of clean air and water are meant to deceive and deflect. It’s time for bold leadership on the most crucial issue of our time.”

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