Energy & Environment

Can Ivanka Trump and Al Gore unite against climate change?

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News that Ivanka Trump wants to make the effort against climate change a major cause of hers, and joins Al Gore for a meeting to discuss one of the most important issues facing the earth, is one of the most interesting and important developments of the Donald Trump transition.

Give Ivanka Trump credit for focusing on climate change and reaching out to the former vice president, and give Al Gore credit for all that he has done over the years to defend the Earth and extending his hand to Ivanka Trump to explore whether there is common ground between them.

{mosads}Throughout presidencies, over many years, family members of presidents have made certain causes their own, and done much to make the world a better place by doing so.

It would be a wonderful step forward for humanity, and for a Donald Trump presidency, if Ivanka Trump and Gore can join together with environmental and religious leaders who are passionately committed to this cause.

Over the past 30 years, Gore has been a statesman and leader of the first order in the fight against climate change. The Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded was well-earned for his leadership when he was a senator, when he was vice president, and after he left office to devote his life to this great cause he has long championed.

Religious leaders across the nation and the world, representing diverse denominations of many faiths, have taken up the cause. Pope Francis has made the work to combat climate change a defining cause of his papacy — something he has spoken and written about very often and at great length.

President Obama has made climate change a priority of his presidency. Secretary of State John Kerry has brought his leadership role on climate change to his current position at Foggy Bottom, and was instrumental in achieving the Paris Accords agreement that is only beginning to have the major impact it promises.

For Ivanka Trump to make climate change a major priority of hers is good news for the world, and for her to reach out to Gore is a sign that her commitment to the issue is serious and important. It would be great news for the Earth if her work leads to new action and initiatives.

It is much too early to determine the depth and passion of Ivanka Trump’s commitment to the issue, but she is an exceptionally talented woman who has a great deal to offer if her action on climate change becomes a long-term project and leads to results, which I very much hope it does.

With all of the controversies and changes that come with the election of Donald Trump as president, climate change will be a very dramatic wild card.

Does Ivanka Trump’s interest in the cause suggest that a Trump presidency could bring a big surprise on environmental and climate issues? I have my doubts, but if we have learned one thing from the Trump candidacy, one never knows what will happen next and a major move to combat climate change is certainly possible.

Let’s keep an open mind about the importance of Ivanka Trump’s move to take a prominent role on climate change. It is a very good sign that she is reaching out to Gore, and I applaud both her and Gore for meeting to seek common ground on so momentous and important issue as saving the earth from the ravages of pollution.

The effort to combat climate change has always been bipartisan, involving many leaders from both parties; ecumenical, uniting many leaders of different faiths; and multilateral, bringing together important players from nations across the globe.

The possibility of cooperation and common purpose between Ivanka Trump and Al Gore has certainly gotten the new week off to a fascinating start.

Let’s see what comes of it, keeping an open mind and hoping for the best.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Tags Al Gore Donald Trump John Kerry

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