NBC Asks Al Gore About GOP ‘Threat’ to Climate Change ‘Progress’

During a fawning interview with former Vice President Al Gore aired on Monday’s NBC Today, correspondent Anne Thompson teed up the global warming activist to bash Republicans: “Do you see a Trump presidency undoing all the progress that the U.S. has made in the last ten years in the fight against climate change?”

After Gore argued that “there is still some basis for hope” in pushing his left-wing environmental agenda, Thompson fretted: “This is a man who’s called climate change a ‘hoax’ and other words that we cannot use on network TV.” Gore added: “And a Chinese plot.” Thompson replied: “Right. So where's the hope?”

At the top of the segment, Thompson touted the anniversary of Gore’s film debut and climate crusade: “Can you believe it's been ten years since An Inconvenient Truth debuted? And there’s been a lot of progress in the fight against climate change. In Paris, the world agreed to reduce carbon emissions, coal use is down in the United States, and solar panels are going up in record numbers.” She then ominously warned: “But there’s a new threat, and it comes from the presumptive GOP nominee.”

Despite slamming Republicans, Thompson declared, “Climate change, Gore insists, cuts across party lines.” She then noted how he “praises both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton for addressing climate change.”

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She hailed the Democrat’s supposed celebrity status:

An Inconvenient Truth made Al Gore an unexpected movie star....One reviewer called it “nerd porn.” Using charts and graphs, Gore made the connection between increasing carbon emissions and our changing climate for millions of movie-goers in 2006....His efforts won Gore the Nobel Peace Prize and a little gold statue for the movie.

Thompson did briefly mention flaws in Gore’s numerous doomsday predictions: “The movie didn't get everything right. Ten years later, there's still snow on Mount Kilimanjaro and a warming ocean has not spawned a major hurricane that’s hit the U.S., as his critics gleefully point out.”

Instead of actually challenging him on the facts, she painted him as the victim: “Why do think you’re a lightning rod?” Gore responded: “It's not unusual to see attacks on a messenger by people who don't like the message. I don't own a private plane. My house runs on 100% renewable energy. I do walk the walk.”

Gore may not “own” a private plane, but he’s certainly used them plenty over the years. Thompson failed to point that out.

Here is a full transcript of the May 23 segment:

8:34 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And now to an NBC News exclusive, former Vice President Al Gore marking a milestone for his Oscar-winning documentary and weighing in on the presidential race as well.

WILLIE GEIST: NBC’s Anne Thompson is here in studio with that. Anne, good to see you.

ANNE THOMPSON: Good morning. Can you believe it's been ten years since An Inconvenient Truth debuted? And there’s been a lot of progress in the fight against climate change. In Paris, the world agreed to reduce carbon emissions, coal use is down in the United States, and solar panels are going up in record numbers. But there’s a new threat, and it comes from the presumptive GOP nominee. Just one of several topics I discussed with the former Vice President.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: One-on-One With Al Gore; Talks Trump, Climate Change & “Inconvenient Truth”]

[TO AL GORE] So what do you think of the tone of the presidential campaign so far?

AL GORE: Well, I'm one of millions who sometimes just – I do a double take. Whoa, what was what?

DONALD TRUMP: Who believes in global warming? Raise your hand.

GORE: It's been unusual.

TRUMP: Nobody?

THOMPSON: Do you see a Trump presidency undoing all the progress that the U.S. has made in the last ten years in the fight against climate change?

GORE: He has said some things on the climate crisis that I think should concern everyone. I'm not pollyannish about it, but I do think that there is still some basis for hope.

THOMPSON: This is a man who’s called climate change a “hoax” and other words that we cannot use on network TV.

GORE: And a Chinese plot.

THOMPSON: Right. So where's the hope?

GORE: President Carter said that he hopes he'll be malleable. I don't know.

THOMPSON: Climate change, Gore insists, cuts across party lines.
                    
GORE: I'm proud to have some Tea Party allies. What's being called the Green Tea Party.

THOMPSON: Gore praises both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton for addressing climate change. But Bill Clinton’s vice president is not yet picking sides. [TO GORE]: Has either Democrat sought your endorsement yet?

GORE: I've gotten signals that you could easily interpret that way.

GORE [AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH]: The Earth is so big.

THOMPSON: And that's because An Inconvenient Truth made Al Gore an unexpected movie star.

GORE: As somebody said, Al Gore giving a slideshow, what doesn't grab you about that?

GORE [AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH]: The different isotopes of oxygen.

THOMPSON: One reviewer called it “nerd porn.” Using charts and graphs, Gore made the connection between increasing carbon emissions and our changing climate for millions of movie-goers in 2006.
    
GORE: It's connected to our economy. It's connected to our national security. It's connected to the refugee crisis. It's connected to health.

GORE [AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH]: A horrible, unprecedented –

THOMPSON: The movie didn't get everything right. Ten years later, there's still snow on Mount Kilimanjaro and a warming ocean has not spawned a major hurricane that’s hit the U.S., as his critics gleefully point out.

[TO GORE] Why do think you’re a lightning rod?

GORE: It's not unusual to see attacks on a messenger by people who don't like the message. I don't own a private plane. My house runs on 100% renewable energy. I do walk the walk.

THOMPSON: His efforts won Gore the Nobel Peace Prize and a little gold statue for the movie.

[TO GORE] Where's the Oscar?

GORE: Actually, the Oscar belongs to Davis Guggenheim, the director of the movie, but I like to say I have visiting rights to the Oscar.

THOMPSON: For more on the tenth anniversary, Paramount will offer free downloads of the film on Amazon Video, Xfinity on Demand, iTunes, and other major digital retailers.  

GEIST: Anne, did Gore give you any impression who he might back in this race, between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?

THOMPSON: He said he's been a lifelong Democrat, he will back the Democratic nominee.

GEIST: Alright, very interesting interview. Anne, thank you very much.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.


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