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Gore presses Obama to ‘follow through’ on climate change promises

President Obama "has to follow through" on his commitment to address climate change, even if it means using executive powers to get around congressional gridlock, according to former Vice President Al Gore.

Obama should "move boldly" on the agenda he articulated in his second inaugural address, which included strong words about addressing climate change, Gore said in an interview on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

While efforts to tackle climate change would run into GOP opposition in Congress, Gore said the president had ample powers to bear from the executive branch in addressing the issue.


"There are some actions he can take that do not require congressional approval," he said. "There is a law on the books that requires the EPA to regulate pollution. The Supreme Court has agreed with the obvious interpretation that global warming pollution is pollution. It's been applied to new coal plants. It should be applied to all facilities."

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After taking his oath of office for a second term, Obama vowed the U.S. would "respond to the threat of climate change," and jabbed at climate skeptics blocking such efforts.

"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," he said. "The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it."

Gore said he believes Obama has found a "new firmness" entering his second term when it comes to dealing with GOP opposition, which made itself evident during his standoff over the "fiscal cliff" at the end of 2012.

"I think that he's learned a great deal during his first term. I don't want to sound patronizing in saying that. I've learned a great deal from watching his first term," he said. "But I think that you already see a greater depth and sophistication in his approach."

Accompanying Obama's new resolve is a "wariness" by Republicans to stand in the way of all his efforts, he argued.

"There is a new awareness, that the American people don't want gridlock. They don't want sclerosis," he said. "They don't want this hyper-partisanship."

On other issues, Gore said that the influx of corporate money into the political process has "functionally corrupted" democracy, and called for comprehensive campaign finance reform.

"The Congress now finds it virtually impossible to pass any kind of reform unless they first get permission from the special interests who are most involved with the issue involved and who finance their campaign," he said. "And that's pitiful."

Gore also defended the sale of his TV news network, Current TV, to Al Jazeera America. He called the new owners a "highly respected international news gathering organization."

"I think the net result, it's going to be very positive for the American media landscape," he said.