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Al Gore and the producers behind the new documentary about climate change, An Inconvenient Sequel, on Thursday shot back at the news that President Donald Trump is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.
“Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a reckless and indefensible action. It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time. But make no mistake: If President Trump won’t lead, the American people will,” Gore said in a statement. “Civic leaders, mayors, governors, CEOs, investors and the majority of the business community will take up this challenge. We are in the middle of a clean energy revolution that no single person or group can stop. President Trump’s decision is profoundly in conflict with what the majority of Americans want from our president; but no matter what he does, we will ensure that our inevitable transition to a clean energy economy continues.”
Trump made the announcement from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon, prompting Participant Media, the company that financed the film, to issue a statement of its own.
“Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a blow to our collective ability to fight the climate crisis in time,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant Media, the company that also financed An Inconvenient Truth, the 2006 predecessor to the this summer’s sequel. “But there is an incredible momentum towards solutions to the climate crisis — new technologies exist and are being deployed, overwhelming public support exists for climate action, markets are rewarding clean energy, and of course, global political leaders outside the U.S. will maintain their course under the Paris Agreement.”
An Inconvenient Sequel, which was directed by Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen and is set to open July 28, follows the former vice president as he champions for a multinational climate agreement. Much of the film’s action takes place in Paris, where Gore worked to broker a deal, playing a key role when India initially balked at the emissions cuts it would have to make.
“No matter what happens, our job is to keep the momentum moving forward as quickly as we can, regardless of what stands in our path,” Linde added.
Cohen and Shenk issued a similar statement in response to the president’s move, saying, they “were shocked and disappointed” and adding that in the new film “we filmed behind-the-scenes in Paris to show the hard work, finesse and passion that went into making the agreement happen. We hope that the hard work of those who made the deal happen will not be in vain. The good news is that there is a great deal to be hopeful about. The technology exists to create enough clean energy for the world economy and to avoid total climate collapse. Now that President Trump is pledging to do less to keep America’s commitment to the world, we must all step up to do more to ensure the health of our planet.”
It is unclear if the documentary, which is being released by Paramount, will be recut and edited to include the latest development, which, according to the film, would have a devastating effect on global climate and cause rising sea levels as well as superstorms like Hurricane Sandy.
The Associated Press published Trump’s talking points on the decision that says the accord “was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation.” It continues that “the U.S. is already leading the world in energy production and doesn’t need a bad deal that will harm American workers.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of An Inconvenient Sequel’s Sundance world premiere, Gore said of his much-observed meeting with Trump following the election: “He was receptive to some of what I had to say, and I appreciated that. Candidate Trump made a number of statements and wrote a bunch of tweets that caused concern, but he also has other statements that at least give rise to the possibility that he and his team will take a fresh look at the reality of what we’re facing here.”
But Trump opted to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 agreement reached by 196 nations, all pledging to reach net-zero greenhouse gases by the end of this century.
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