Energy & Environment

Al Gore says climate crisis and coronavirus ‘linked’: Pollution makes preconditions worse

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Former Vice President Al Gore said Monday that the climate crisis and issues surrounding environmental injustice are linked with the coronavirus pandemic. 

“This climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are linked in some ways,” Gore said on MSNBC. “The preconditions that raise the death rate from COVID-19, a great many of them, are accentuated, made worse by the fossil fuel pollution.”

Emerging statistics have illustrated that the coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. 

Gore said the crisis has “exposed some longstanding weaknesses” in the country. 

For example, Gore noted the death rate, before the pandemic, among black children from asthma was much worse than for white children with asthma.

According to the Department for Health and Human Services, in 2015 African American children with asthma had a death rate 10 times that of non-Hispanic white children, and black children are four times more likely to be admitted to the hospital for asthma as compared to non-Hispanic white children. 

Gore said environmental injustice is just one factor, in addition to inadequate access to health care and unequal economics, that leads to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and other health issues. 

Communities of color have had “a legacy of being deprived of the same political and economic power to defend themselves” and they’re more likely to be in polluted areas, such as “downwind from the smokestacks” or “downstream from the hazardous waste flows,” Gore said.

“This is now being manifested in these horrendous death rates,” he said. 

Gore also criticized President Trump’s handling of the crisis. 

“He ignored the science, as he has done with the climate crisis as well,” Gore said. “He has engaged in a kind of magical thinking. He’s pushed dangerous and potentially deadly snake oil-type remedies.” 

Gore urged Americans to push aside partisanship when thinking about the November elections. 

“I hope that a lot of people will put the country first and try, even in this time of extreme partisanship, to try and set that aside and look at what is at stake here,” Gore said. “I mean seriously, we are really in trouble with the kind of performance in the Oval Office we’ve had. We’ve got to change that. … I know that sounds partisan, but it’s more than that, it’s way more than that.”

Tags Al Gore Climate change in the United States climate crisis Coronavirus Donald Trump

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