Gore praises Obama for speaking ‘powerfully’ on climate change

Former Vice President Al Gore on Monday praised President Obama for addressing the issue of climate change during his second inaugural address.

Gore wrote in his blog that Obama “spoke powerfully and eloquently about the critical importance of solving the climate crisis” in his speech to the nation.

ADVERTISEMENT
Gore has been critical of Obama's climate record in the past, regularly pressing him to use his executive authority and bully pulpit to act against climate change.

“His forceful commitment to take action will rekindle the hopes of so many that we are at long last approaching the political tipping point, beyond which we will finally start transforming our economy to sharply reduce global warming pollution and safeguard the future,” Gore said.

While Obama has said climate change is one of his top three second-term priorities, green groups have pushed the president to detail specific policy plans.

But Gore’s praise is a hint that the former vice president might believe Obama is ready to act more unilaterally and forcefully on climate change.

That could be necessary to advance climate-change measures. As Obama enters his second term, GOP opposition to climate legislation looks nearly insurmountable.

Gore has in the past said Obama too often blames lack of climate action on a gridlocked Congress.

Gore also slammed Obama in a June 2011 Rolling Stone essay for having “never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,” adding he had “simply not made the case for action.”

But Obama drew a connection between climate change and extreme weather during his inaugural address.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms,” Obama said.

Gore highlighted that quote, calling it and the climate comments that followed “the key section of an inspiring speech.”

E2-Wire's Ben Geman has more on Obama's inaugural address and climate comments here.

This story was updated at 5:26 p.m.