Mitchell Reports | January 31, 2013
>> al gore has a new book "the future." it's a new look at the global trends shaping our climate and our economy. i sat down with fwor gore yesterday to talk about his predictions and his controversial recent business deal with al jazeera .
>> in your book you write the good news is we do have the capacity to again to solving the climate crisis if we awaken to the reality of our circumstances and decide that saving the future of human civilization is a priority. do we still have time?
>> yes. some of the changes will continue to unfold for a long time, but the worst of it can still be avoided, but we do need to act quickly. we're putting an extra 90 million tons of heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere every day as if it's an open sewer, and that's why we're getting these incredible downpours and flooding events. superstorm sandy was only one of the climate related disasters last year here. we had $110 billion worth of climate disasters last we're.
>> how do we deal with these profound changes that we're already experiencing, and if we even took on this challenge here in the united states , some would argue, well, what about china? what about the rest of the world ? they're all continuing their policies, so what difference does it make?
>> yeah, china's emissions became larnler than those of the u.s. just two or three years ago. now this year they're 160% of the u.s. emissions, and within two or three years from now they'll be double the u.s. emissions. the good news is that people are connecting the dots all over the world. china, for example, is doing far more than we are to develop renewable manager, to build smart grids and fast trains and new more efficient energy systems . china has now implemented a cap and trade system in two cities and five provinces, and they've announced that it's a pilot for a nationwide cap and trade system within two years. we're now seeing 17 other countries moving rapidly toward carbon taxes and cap and trade .
>> but not the united states ?
>> not yet.
>> are you disappointed? president obama campaigned on it in 2008 . you showed up with him in june of 2008 . then again visited him in 2009 . we heard nothing. now, you argue correctly that not a single reporter asked a question about climate change in the re-election campaign, but the president didn't do it either until the inaugural address . why should we think that now he is going to make a real commitment when he didn't when the economy went down, he made the calculation that it was politically just too hard.
>> i think it's very significant that he put the climate crisis pront and center in his maug all address. already times when you can point out the discrepancy between words and actioned, but having the premier issue, the one about which you spoke the most, in his inaugural address , i hi that is a form of commitment that has consequences. he will have to follow-up on this sfwloosh what do you want the president to do to follow-up on the commitment in the inaugural?
>> i think that he has to speak about it over and over again and lead a national conversation and work with the congress to pass legislation that will directly or indirectly put a price on carbon. i also would like to see him use his presidential authority in the e.p.a. to regulate emissions of global warming pollution from coal plants. he has already done it for new coal mants. it should be done for old plants as well.
>> i want to ask you about al jazeera and the sale of current tv because it's controversial. people don't manned understand how you as a prophet on chimt change could take reportedly $100 million from a network that is basically owned by qatar , by a country that is an oil producer? it would be like taking the money from exxonmobil if exxonmobil owned al jazeera .
>> well, i think it's important to focus on al jazeera itself. i completely understand the criticism and the point of view that you're reporting, but the fact is that al jazeera stands all around the world as a highly respected international muse-gathering organization, and its climate reporting has been outstanding. far better than what's available now. i hi that its addition to the u.s. media landscape is going to be a big net positive .
>> but regardless of al jazeera 's virtues or any other other aspect of what al jazeera does, isn't there something inherently hypocritical about taking money and a lot of money from an oil producer because that's basically what qatar is and qatar owns al jazeera ?
>> well, more gas than oil, but the point you are making is one that i understand very clearly. i do disagree with it. we can talk about qatar . it's one of our strongest allies in the arab world . we have a military base will. we very robust intelligence cooperation. it has been described by secretary clinton as part of the solution. not part of the problem.
>> looking back at 2000 , i was re-reading your concession speech. how -- how difficult was that? you knew you had won the popular vote. you had to disagree profoundly with the supreme court decision. what motivated you to be frankly as gracious as you were? were you thinking about the poisono ouous atmosphere and worried about the future of the country? what went into the difficult decision to write that speech?
>> well, the short answer is that our nation is built on the bedrock of rule of law, and upon investigation, that there is no intermediary step between a final supreme court decision and violent revolution . so, what i did was maybe best summarized by winston churchill in the famous description of americans. they generally do the right thing after first exhausting every available alternative.
>> how difficult was it afterwards, just coming to terms with that?
>> well, i've always been an optimist by nature. and i just felt let's move on. and -- and in to the future. and i've enjoyed my life since the time when i was running for office. and i found other ways to serve.
>> indeed, he has. the new book is "the future."