— Al Gore (@algore) March 29, 2017
The trailer for “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” the second film in Al Gore’s franchise of climate change documentaries, depicts President Trump as an antagonist. The clip that Gore shared via Twitter on Wednesday shows the president at an airport rally held last April in Rochester, N.Y., where then-candidate Trump mocks the climate science consensus.
“It’s supposed to be 70 degrees today,” Trump says. “It’s freezing here! Speaking of global warming, where is — we need some global warming!”
As for Gore, the trailer vindicates the former vice president’s climate change predictions. Gore says that the most criticized part of 2006’s “Inconvenient Truth,” which won a documentary feature Oscar in 2007, was the notion that the World Trade Center Memorial could flood from rising sea levels and stronger storm surges. Smash cut to 2012 — “Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York City last night, flooding the World Trade Center site,” a newscaster says in the trailer.
The trailer jumps from the devastation wreaked by extreme weather events to shots of green energy infrastructure and Gore pumping the hand of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
And then, halfway through, the screen goes to black. Enter Trump.
The trailer showcases another Trump campaign rally speech. “It’s time to put America first,” he says. “That includes the promise to cancel billions in climate change spending.”
Trump’s statements have frequently missed the mark on climate change. In a December interview with Fox News, Trump said he was “open-minded” on the subject. But his other stances have veered from conspiracy — Trump infamously called global warming a Chinese hoax, in a Twitter post that he later shrugged off as a joke — to skepticism. He told The Washington Post editorial board in March 2016 that he was “not a great believer in man-made climate change.”
At least one of his businesses, however, acknowledges the threat posed by rising oceans; the Trump International Golf Links Ireland cited global warming in its 2016 application seeking a permit for a protective sea wall.
Gore has frequently demurred from attacking Trump’s climate change views. In fact, he characterized a December meeting with Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan as constructive. “I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground,” Gore said of his 90-minute lunch meeting, as The Washington Post reported at the time. “I had a meeting beforehand with Ivanka Trump. The bulk of the time was with the president-elect, Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”
When “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” debuted at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in January, Variety commented on the fact that Gore did not mention Trump by name. Gore told the Sundance crowd only that, in the realm of climate change setbacks, “now we have another,” as Variety reported. Gore also opposed Trump’s decision to appoint Scott Pruitt, a critic of climate change science, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
In mid-March, Gore expressed optimism that Trump would not withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 Paris climate accord, an agreement in which the country would curb greenhouse gas emissions. Trump has wavered between a public declaration to “cancel” the agreement and saying he had an “open mind” on pulling out.
On the same day that Gore tweeted the new trailer, the House Science Committee held a climate change panel thick with political theater, as The Post reported, but scant by way of practical solutions. The day prior, Trump signed an executive order to boost the coal industry that also allows federal officials to disregard a previous requirement to consider climate change during decision-making processes.
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