February 3rd, 2013
03:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Gore urges Obama to 'move boldly' but avoid Congress on climate change

(CNN) - Al Gore, environmental activist and former vice president, said he was "very pleased" to hear President Barack Obama pledge to combat climate change in his inauguration speech. He urged the president to "follow through" on his commitment.

"There are some actions he can take that do not require congressional approval," Gore said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

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Gore argued the president should expand current Environmental Protection Agency regulations, saying such action would be protected by the Supreme Court.

"There is a law on the books that requires the EPA to regulate pollution. The Supreme Court has agreed with the obvious interpretation that global warming pollution is pollution," he said. "It's been applied to new coal plants. It should be applied to all facilities."

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have also called on the president to keep his distance from Congress on climate change.

They argue Obama can take executive actions such as curbing carbon emissions among existing power plants, not just new plants, and mandating high efficiency standards for larger trucks and longer haul vehicles.

In 2011, the EPA issued new standards on toxic pollutants and mercury emissions from coal power plants. Obama also finalized regulations requiring that passenger cars and trucks nearly double their fuel efficiency by 2025.

While Obama made some environmental changes in his first term, he signaled his second term would be more focused on the issue, a topic he rarely touched upon during his re-election campaign.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said in his inauguration speech last month. "Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."

Gore said he thinks Obama should "move boldly on the agenda," arguing that the president is already taking big steps on other issues he wants to champion, such as gun control and overhauling immigration laws.

"I think that you already see a greater depth and sophistication in his approach," he said. "One thing that I think President Obama has demonstrated is an ability to reach across the aisle, to try to invite more cooperation. But he's now tempering that with a new firmness … that I think will serve him in good stead."

- CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Filed under: Al Gore • climate change • Fareed Zakaria GPS
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Rob

    are all liberals hypocrites?

    February 3, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. jack johnson

    Lets start with )1) they are going after big riggs (who pay highway use tax) (2) they Do Not mention locomotives (that Do Not pay highway taxes) (3) What about ship, tug boats, and barges (whit the amount of fuel they burn). (5) what about airlines (look at the fuel they burn) Branson has a fuel saving devise THAT HE WILL LEASE TO THEM, but they want to buy it out right. So if you are going after everyday people it's time to stop the big poluters.

    February 3, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Getoverit

    This clown is more irrelevant and dumber than Sarah Palin!

    February 3, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Bugl3t

    I am sure that the founding fathers would agree that my right to the "pursuit of happiness" implies not harming others in the process. Regulations are needed because there are ALWAYS people who exempt themselves from the law, assuming they won't or shouldn't be punished for actions that are over-all negative for the rest of humanity.
    Jesus said it when he said to love others as he loves us.. or, if you prefer... do unto others as you would have them do to you.
    I'd just as soon have them not pollute or shoot me, thank you very much!

    February 3, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. lottie

    right idea skip congress all together. they are a total waste of time. still trying to figure out what global warmin means.

    February 3, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. HenryMiller

    "There are some actions he can take that do not require congressional approval,"

    Why is that all these Leftist jerks think they can get away with ignoring Constitutional checks and balances? Didn't the NLRB recess appointment ruling last week teach Gore anything? The President isn't a dictator, no matter how much those of a socialist bent want him to be.

    February 3, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. HenryMiller

    @Rob: are all liberals hypocrites?

    Yeah, mostly. And they're all would-be tyrants too.

    February 3, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. plain&simple

    Some things require reviews by committee,but they usually just screw it all up by trying to be all things to everyone! So if the law allows executive order,then use it. Just be ready for the right wingers to cry "dictator"!!!! The Christian right should embrace the president as a good steward of the earth. Protecting Gods creation. After all when one knows better, one should try and do better. And we do know better than to pollute.

    February 3, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Larry L

    The world science community universally accepts the model for global climate change. Only a delusional fool wouldn't recognize changes are happening faster than predicted. It does little good to remain purposefully ignorant because you simply associate the warning with Al Gore.

    February 3, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Nick

    President Obama has often tired to bend the constitutional restrictions set upon the office of the president. It seems that he does so, because Washington, recently, is “no man’s land” for productiveness. However, the president should be careful just how far he pushes the constitutional limits, there are too many groups out there ready to find a reason to call for articles of impeachment. Indeed, the environment is something that must be taken care of immediately. The lack of consensus in congress on the magnitude of the situation we are in, with climate change and the vanishing of natural resources, is alarming. However, I believe that President Obama, with congressional members that support environmental legislation, must act now by doing everything the constitution will allow but not more. On the other hand, if that doesn't do the job he must act on his own by doing what he always does when house republicans will not concede; take it to the American people and broaden the environmental movement and message.

    February 3, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Name lynn

    Al gore vs Obama al says hes please with obama an whats hes during, other people saying their not please with what obama during who cares what the people saying an thinking obama is a good man.

    February 3, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. James

    Go back to the bank and count your money Gore !!!

    February 3, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. Old White Consevative Male

    There are just too many things to say about this hypocrite. I wonder what kind of money making scheme he is working now?

    February 3, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    Bug13t- We have an administration that exempts themselves from the laws.

    February 3, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Gore is correct. The Republican side of Congress represents a demographic that believes the earth to be less than 6000 years old. They cannot and will not accept science because it conflicts with their mythology. They are not yet completely irrelevant but are headed in that direction. The intelligent world is leaving them behind but they still control many votes. It's like the end of the Inquisition...

    February 3, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. confused

    Not all too sure global warming exists, but up here, i am sure of this global "colding" lol.

    February 3, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be greater emphasis on getting less poluting forms of energies that we can use to create electricty. There also needs to be greater reseach in energy efficiency as well.

    February 3, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  18. Wes

    Isn't this the idiot who sold current tv to Al Jezeera? Isn't this this hypocrite who lectures everyone about global warming while he is flying all over the country in his private jet? Isn't this the hypocrite who says we should all pay our fair share yet tries to get his tv deal done prior to Jan 1 so he doesn't have to pay more in taxes? Isn't this the hypocrite who lives in a 20,000 square foot home with monthly utility bills in the thousands?

    February 3, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  19. hogfan

    You avoid-Congress promoters need to remember what you're preaching when a Conservative is elected President and starts issuing Executive Orders one right after another because he/she doesn't want to deal with Congress. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, or is it? Nope, they should ALL deal within the frameworks of the three branches of government, just as the founding fathers intended.

    February 3, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    If Gore is a clown he is a very succesful and rich clown! Which is what I would rather be than either the stupid you or as you say dumber ( its grammatically correct to say more dumb) than Sarah Palin.
    You are the very epitomy of the " stupid Republican attitudes" that Jindal refers to. You are not helping the GOP with comments like these.

    February 3, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. Jocelyn

    He might be a liberal but he's still just another redneck who made millions from oil production.

    February 4, 2013 06:13 am at 6:13 am |