Gore to Obama: Talk is cheap on climate

Al Gore is calling on President Obama to make climate change a higher priority in his second term.

“I deeply respect our president and I am grateful for the steps that he has taken, but we cannot have four more years of mentioning this occasionally and saying it's too bad that the Congress can't act,” Gore said in New York City on Thursday, Reuters reports.

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The remarks come three weeks after Obama pledged to focus on climate but offered no specific second-term plans and noted political hurdles to legislation.

“I don't know what either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do at this point, because this is one of those issues that's not just a partisan issue,” Obama said at a post-election press conference on Nov. 14.

(Click here for more detailed coverage of Obama’s remarks.)

Gore spoke at an event with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who discussed his plans to harden the city against major storms in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Gore’s comments don’t make for the first time the former vice president has offered a mix of criticism and praise for Obama.

In a lengthy Rolling Stone magazine essay last year, Gore said Obama “failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change.”

But the essay also praised Obama for major increases in auto mileage standards and other actions.

On Thursday Gore also revived his criticism of the influence of the fossil fuel industry.

"Our democracy has been hacked," Gore said in remarks to the New York League of Conservation Voters and Regional Plan Association. "And when the large part of polluters and their ideological allies tell the members of Congress to jump, they do say, 'how high?' And we need leadership in the executive branch as well."

Bloomberg, for his part, outlined a number of post-Sandy steps. From The Associated Press:

The city will work on upgrading building codes and evacuation-zone maps, hardening power and transportation networks and making sure hospitals are better prepared for extreme weather after Superstorm Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday.

As a start, utility Consolidated Edison has agreed to spend $250 million to get its electrical, steam and gas systems in shape to withstand a Category 2 hurricane, Bloomberg said. City officials, meanwhile, will work on more comprehensive plans to help Sandy-ravaged areas recover and prepare the city for future weather disasters.