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A Chat with Al Gore on Carbon Taxes, Natural Gas, and the 'Morally Wrong' Keystone Pipeline

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

On Nov. 14-15, the Climate Reality Project held its second annual "24 Hours of Reality" marathon, spending an entire day and night live-streaming events and panels around the globe to highlight various aspects of the climate crisis. (This year's theme was "dirty weather.") More than 100 people - elected leaders, scientists, business people, and activists - appeared on panels and millions tuned in to watch.

I caught up with Climate Reality founder Al Gore around hour 18 of his all-nighter and asked him about current U.S. climate politics, carbon taxes, and natural gas.

Q. Did you see Obama's press conference the other day?

A. I heard the excerpts on climate, and [laughs]   oh 

Q. Go ahead!

A. No, I'm not going to go ahead! We have conflicting interests here! [laughs]

Well, I think it's too early to put a definitive interpretation on where he left it with that comment. I was genuinely encouraged that he said, in the first half of his answer, that he was going to conduct a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers, etc. Many urged him to do it in the first term and I'm glad that he's pledging to do that now. That could take on a life of its own and have an impact how he thinks about it. And   as I say, I really do believe it's premature to put a definitive interpretation on what it means about his intentions.

Q. Did you hear [White House press secretary] Jay Carney this morning?

A. No, God help us, what'd he say?

Q. He said, "We would never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of proposing one."

A. I don't think that comes as a big surprise to anyone. Those of us that hold out some hope that we will find a way to get a price on carbon, and know there are multiple ways to do it, have felt that the convergence of the fiscal cliff and the climate cliff could produce some surprising results. And there have been some private comments by some Republicans to that effect. But certainly that's something you wouldn't wanna bet money on in Vegas. 


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