Al Gore Addressed His Visit To Trump Tower At The Sundance Film Festival

1. On Thursday evening, Al Gore’s new documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation.

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The film, which premieres in theaters July 28, is a follow-up to Gore’s 2006 Sundance hit, An Inconvenient Truth. Both films document the growing threat of climate change and Gore’s work to prevent it and educate others on its consequences. Inconvenient Truth earned Gore a 2007 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize that same year for his continued work in climate change education.

2. “We’re going to win this,” Gore told the crowd after the screening. “No one can stop it… One option is to feel despair, but despair ultimately is just another form of denial. The other option is to expand the limits of what is politically possible.”

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3. The only audience question was about Gore’s Dec. 5 visit to Trump Tower after Donald Trump was elected president.

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He was also asked how it felt riding the elevator.

4. Here’s what Gore said about the meeting:

I’ve tried to protect the confidence of that conversation in case I need to have some more [with him], but it’s not the last conversation. And I will tell you, over the years there have been a lot of people who started out as deniers and have changed over time. Whether [Trump] will or not remains to be seen. I’m not going to go into any of the specifics of that conversation out of respect — I went for eight years as vice president and never divulged any private conversations with President Clinton, and I’m more comfortable not giving you a read-out of the specifics. Two days after that meeting, he appointed someone to head the [Environmental Protection Agency] that I don’t think should be heading the EPA, but this story has many chapters yet to unfold here.

We’re in a real battle here, and it’s a challenge for all of us to really comprehend how high the stakes are — I mean, it’s beyond any scale that we’re used to thinking about. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go too far down that road. But we have to really step back, take a deep breath, and say, ‘This is not a political issue, it is a moral issue — it’s an ethical issue, it’s a spiritual issue.’

Who are we? Are we a pathetic, self-interested, short-sighted species whose run on the planet will soon be over because we destroyed ourselves? I refuse to believe that. We have limitations and we have short-term motivations, and we all know that, but we also have something else inside of us. We have the capacity to rise above our limitations. Now whether or not Donald Trump, inaugurated tomorrow, will take the kind of approach that continues this progress, we’ll have to see. But let me reiterate: No one person can stop this. It’s too big now. We are shifting. We are going to win this.

5. In his closing remarks to the audience, Gore said: “We’re at a time in world history where there’s unrest, and it’s a moment of decision. At the end of World War II, George Marshall, who was one of our US Generals who won that war, became Secretary of State [and] authored the Marshall Plan. He surveyed the damage that had been done [and said], ‘Now is a time to steer by the stars, and not by the lights of each passing ship.’”

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6. “And we set a course to try to build a more stable, principle-based order, which is now under challenge. But we are going to prevail. I won’t give all the evidence of why I’m so confident, but I am. And for those who have any doubt, just remember there are so many others who are yearning to do the right thing and to see the right outcome.”

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