Former Vice President Al Gore compared climate change deniers to police officers who gathered in the hallway of a school in Uvalde, Texas, and waited for a mass shooting to take place, killing 19 students.
The global warming activist said there are now solutions to address the crisis, but a ‘broken’ democracy is stifling efforts.
He encouraged voters to support “pro-climate” lawmakers in the House and Senate to turn the tide.
“We have elections coming up. And it’s time for all of us to step up,” he said. NBC News “Meet the Press” in an excerpt from an interview that will air on Sunday.
“The climate deniers are in some ways like all those roughly 400 law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, who waited outside an unlocked door while children were slaughtered. They heard the screams, they heard the shots and no one came forward,” said Gore, who served as vice president for eight years in the Clinton administration.
He added: “God bless these families who have suffered so much.”
Law enforcement officials were seen on video waiting in the hallway of Robb Elementary School for more than an hour as a man armed with an assault rifle went on a rampage on May 24, killing 21 people .
Gore said climate change efforts are being thwarted by the 50-50 split in the Senate and the narrow majority of Democrats in the House, saying tackling climate change “shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
“Faced with this global emergency, what we are doing with our inaction and failure to walk through the door and stop the slaughter is not typical of what we are capable of as human beings. We have the solutions. And I think these extreme events that keep getting worse and worse are really starting to change mindsets,” said Gore, whose 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” raised the dangers of climate change.
“We need to have unity as a nation to come together and stop making political football out of it,” he said.
Gore also said that while public sentiment has changed over the years, attitudes in Congress have not.
“Our democracy is broken. And to solve the climate crisis, we’re going to have to pay attention to the crisis of democracy,” he told host Chuck Todd.
Gore pointed to the similarity between Congress’ failure to ban assault weapons and the failure to vote for climate change legislation.
“The same reason we can’t pass legislation to, for example, reinstate the ban on assault weapons is the same reason we can’t pass climate legislation. We have a minority government. We still have the filibuster, which should be eliminated. We have a lot of money playing far too big a role in our politics, lobbyists for the fossil fuel industry,” he said.
“We have to rise to this challenge,” Gore said.