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MTP Flashback: In 1993, Al Gore warned about climate change as U.S. temperatures soared

The former Vice President has spent decades calling for action.


Former Vice President Al Gore appeared on Meet The Press last Sunday to discuss the threat of climate change and the world’s fitful efforts to build a sustainable future. 

As former NBC News correspondent Luke Russert pointed out on Twitter after the interview, it was a familiar position for Gore, who has appeared repeatedly on the nation’s longest-running TV program to make the case for action. 

Nearly 30 years ago, Gore visited the set just as the East Coast was suffering through a record heat wave that saw temperatures spike into the triple-digits. When moderator Tim Russert brought it up, Gore cautioned that while no one weather event could be decisively attributed to climate change, the overall pattern pointed to hotter temperatures and more disruption.

“The majority of scientists have been telling us for years that the long-term warming trend greatly increases the odds that any given year will produce a much larger number of 100-degree days,” Gore said. “And that trend has been borne out over the last several years. We’ve seen records broken with regularity.” 

Average global temperatures would indeed go on to break records in the subsequent three decades, prompting more alarm among scientists, increased activism, new diplomatic agreements, and a fragile push to eliminate harmful emissions with technologies like renewable energy and electric vehicles. As it happens, Gore’s most recent appearance on Sunday coincided with another record-breaking July heat wave that scorched many of the same cities that were affected during his 1993 interview.

Despite growing momentum for climate action over Gore's career, it hasn't been enough to get President Biden's clean energy agenda past Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and 50 Republicans, making him the third Democratic president in a row unable to pass their top environmental priority. Gore's own push for a "BTU tax" and President Obama's cap-and-trade proposal also both passed the House, only to die in the Senate.