Is President Bush likely to see Al Gore’s documentary about global warming?
“Doubt it,” Bush said coolly Monday.
But Bush should watch it, Gore shot back. In fact, the former Democratic vice president offered to come to the White House any time, any day to show Bush either his documentary or a slide show on global warming that he’s shown more than 1,000 times around the world.
“The entire global scientific community has a consensus on the question that human beings are responsible for global warming and he has today again expressed personal doubt that that is true,” Gore said in an Associated Press interview from France where he attended the Cannes Film Festival.
Bush and Gore have had bitter disagreements about the environment and other issues. Bush defeated Gore in a disputed presidential election that was finally settled by the Supreme Court in 2000.
Gore’s documentary chronicles his efforts to bring greater attention to the dangers of climate change.
“New technologies will change how we live and how we drive our cars, which all will have the beneficial effect of improving the environment,” Bush said. “And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the environment.”
Causes should not be ignored
Gore said the causes of global warming should not be ignored.
“Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus,” Gore said, his voice rising with emotion. “Is it because Exxon Mobil wants us to set it aside? Why should we set aside the conclusion of scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, and around the world including the 11 most important national academies of science on the globe and substitute for their view the view of Exxon Mobil. Why?”
“I’m a grandfather and he’s a father and this should not be a political issue,” Gore said. “And he should ask the National Academy of Sciences ... whether or not human beings are contributing to global warming.”
The White House said Bush already has acknowledged the impact of human behavior on global warming.
“The president noted in 2001 the increase in temperatures over the past 100 years and that the increase in greenhouse gases was due to certain extent to human activity,” said White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino.
“Since then he has committed tens of billions of dollars to the science and technology programs that he initiated and we are well on our way to meeting the president’s goal of reducing greenhouse intensity by 18 percent by 2012,” she said.
Gore’s movie debuted at last winter’s Sundance Film Festival and opens in U.S. theaters Wednesday.