Despite all the cuts that President Donald Trump has proposed to programs that fight climate change, former Vice President Al Gore is still hopeful Trump won't pull out of the Paris agreement.
"I think there is still a realistic chance that President Trump will decide not to pull the United States out of the Paris agreement," Gore said on Thursday (23 March) during an Advertising Week Europe event to preview his new film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.
While Trump hasn't made a decision yet about whether or not to honour America's commitment to reduce carbon emissions by up to 28% by 2025 made in the 2015 agreement, there is still "an active debate in his inner circle", Gore said, adding he has "some visibility to that debate".
Gore met with Trump at Trump Tower in New York City when he was president elect to discuss climate change. "I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued, and I'm just going to leave it at that," Gore said afterward.
"I don't know what's going to happen, but I think there's still a chance that he will not pull out of the Paris agreement," Gore said on Thursday. He remained hopeful despite pointing out that Trump is "seemingly determined to eliminate all of the government programs he can eliminate that would help the US reach its goals".
In a budget proposal unveiled last week, Trump laid out plans to eliminate former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan to tighten regulations on climate change contributing carbon emissions from power plants. And within the Environmental Protection Agency 50 programmes and 3,200 civil service positions face the chopping block.
It would also eliminate State Department funds for the Global Climate Change Initiative and the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps fund developing nations' strategies to combat climate change.
Trump's White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that the Trump administration considers fighting climate change "to be a waste of your money". The president, he said, "is fairly straightforward. We're not spending money on that."
Trump has denied climate change's existence for years and during his election campaign he called climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt American industry and productivity.
In January China's National Energy Administration (NEA) announced its plans to create 13 million jobs by investing $361 billion in the renewable energy sector by 2020 – roughly $72 billion a year from 2016 to 2020. China has said it remains committed to battling climate change and is shifting away from coal power to cleaner, renewable energy technology.
Gore's new film comes over decade after his 2006 two-time Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth was released and shows the escalation of the climate crisis and solutions that can fight it.
He said that even if Trump doesn't want to face the facts, that momentum at the state level may lead the US to meet its climate commitments "regardless of what he does".
"The state of California. The state of New York. Quite a few other state governments now have the bit in their teeth and they are moving much faster than the former President Obama's Clean Power Plan would have had moved anyway," said Gore.
"There is a growing list of cities in the US that have decided to go to 100% renewable energy. Another one just achieved renewable energy, two weeks ago, in George Town, Texas."