Former Vice President Al Gore compared climate change deniers to the police officers who gathered in the hallway of a school in Uvalde, Texas, and waited as a mass shooting took place, killing 19 students.
The global warming activist said there are solutions available now to remedy the crisis but a “broken” democracy is stifling the efforts.
He encouraged voters to back “pro-climate” lawmakers in the House and Senate to turn the tide.
“We’ve got an election coming up. And this is time for all of us to step up,” he told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in a snippet of an interview to be aired Sunday.
“The climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, who were waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred. They heard the screams, they heard the gunshots, and nobody stepped forward,” Gore, who served as vice president for eight years in the Clinton administration, said.
He added: ”God bless those families who’ve 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 gunman armed with an assault rifle carried out a rampage on May 24, killing 21 people.
Gore said efforts to combat climate change are being thwarted by the 50-50 divide in the Senate and Democrats’ narrow majority in the House, saying that the fight against climate change “shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
“Confronted with this global emergency, what we’re doing with our inaction and failing to walk through the door and stop the killing is not typical of what we are capable of as human beings. We do have the solutions. And I think these extreme events that are getting steadily worse and more severe are really beginning to change minds,” said Gore, whose 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” raised the dangers of climate change.
“We have to have unity as a nation to come together and stop making this a political football,” he said.
Gore also said that while public sentiment has been changing over the years, attitudes in Congress have not.
“Our Democracy is broken. And in order to solve the climate crisis, we’re going to have to pay attention to the democracy crisis,” he told host Chuck Todd.
Gore pointed out the similarity between Congress failing to ban assault weapons with the inability 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 that we can’t pass climate legislation. We have a minority government. We have the filibuster, still, which ought to be eliminated. We have big money playing much too large a role in our politics, lobbyists for the fossil-fuel industry,” he said.
“We have got to rise to this challenge,” Gore said.