Former Vice President Al Gore compared climate change deniers to law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, to argue that “inaction” is harming future generations in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“You know the climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, who were waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred. They heard the screams, they heard the gunshots and nobody stepped forward,” said Gore, the environmentalist who was vice president from 1993 to 2001 in the Clinton administration.
While most “active shooter” attacks in the U.S. end within minutes, the attack on the children of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde lasted an hour — the length of time police had waited for backup instead of moving on the gunman, who killed 19 kids and two teachers.
“God bless those families who suffered so much,” Gore, 74, said on Saturday, in a recorded interview set for release Sunday, “and law enforcement officials tell us that’s not typical of what law enforcement usually does.”
The nation’s response to climate change is also not rational, he continued.
Climate emergencies are unfolding in most parts of the world. Areas in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia are sweltering under extreme heat, with record-breaking temperatures baking regions of the world already grappling with wildfires and severe drought. Nearly 2,000 have already been killed in this heat wave in Spain and Portugal.
As the United Kingdom set a new provisional record of 104.5 degrees Fahrenheit this month, beating its previous high of 101.6F that was set only three years ago, wildfires and record heat in North Africa have devastated the country’s grain harvest.
“Confronted with this global emergency, what we’re doing with our inaction, and failing to walk through the door, and stop the killing, is not typical of what we are capable of as human beings,” said Gore, who created the 2006 Oscar-winning climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Recent extreme weather events “that are getting steadily worse and more severe are really beginning to change minds.”
Some Republicans acknowledge the impact of climate change and others have trashed proposals to address it as unrealistic and unaffordable. This month, climate legislation fell apart in Congress after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key vote, said he wouldn’t support it unless data in the coming months show inflation improving. The crumbling of that effort, already pared down several times, was the latest, potentially fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s climate and emissions-cutting agenda.
And the administration is now warning that its office for dealing with climate change health impacts, created during Biden’s first year in office, has no money.
“We do have the solutions and I think these extreme events that are getting steadily worse and more severe are really beginning to change minds. We have to have unity as a nation, to come together and stop making this a political football. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Gore said. “We have to have unify as a nation to come together and stop making this a political football.”
“It shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.