While Al Gore claims to have “more happy memories about Chicago” than he can count, one stands out — the time he was nominated for a second term as vice president.
“Being in your city for the first convention since 1968 — for the Democratic Convention in 1996 — was probably one of my favorite moments there. That was a great convention, and it turned out that it laid the foundation for a great and successful campaign for the Clinton-Gore ticket to win a second time.”
Ssnce his loss in the presidential campaign in 2000, Gore, of course, has dedicated his life primarily to bringing public awareness to the global climate crisis. That led to him playing a key role in the making of the Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” a Nobel Peace Prize and now his second film, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (opening Friday).
The new movie concludes with President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States as a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, something Gore said surprised him. “I did sincerely hope that I could change his mind,” said Gore. “I went to see him, after he was elected, and then continued my conversations with him after he got to the White House. I actually thought he would come to his senses on the Paris agreement, but I was wrong. He has surrounded himself with a rogues gallery of climate deniers and those beholden to the big carbon polluters like Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers.”
That said, Gore pointed to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other local elected officials in the U.S. “who have really stepped up to the plate on this issue. I congratulate Mayor Emanuel for his strong and early support, after President Trump did what he did.
“Frankly, I was worried that other countries would take [Trump’s withdrawal] as an excuse to pull out themselves. But I was so gratified that right away the rest of the world re-doubled their commitment to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement. It was as if they all said, ‘We’ll show you, Mr. Trump.’ Then that was matched by the mayors — like Rahm Emanuel — and governors and business leaders in America, who all stepped up. It was very heartening. It now looks like we will meet our commitments, regardless of Donald Trump.”
Asked if he hopes the president watches his new film, Gore laughed: “Unfortunately, I don’t think that it’s on his ‘must-see’ list.”
Gore has been exposed to the media and cameras throughout his entire professional life and didn’t have a problem with married directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk filming him in very close proximity for the two years it took to make “An Inconvenient Sequel.”
“Bonni and Jon became such close friends during those two years, it made it much easier. I must say, when I saw the first rough cut of the movie, I was astonished at some of the shots they got. I really came to forget they were there filming a lot of times, especially when I was going through some of the highly emotional experiences they captured in the movie. It’s just human nature. You can’t remain constantly aware of the camera being there.”
For Cohen and Shenk, keeping out of Gore’s face — and avoiding distracting him — was the least of the challenges they faced on this project. “Considering the incredible impact the original film had on the world, we were concerned in the beginning of making the sequel that we would live up to the quality of the first film,” said Shenk.
From Gore’s perspective, “they more than achieved that. I am so proud of what they achieved here, and couldn’t be happier with the end result.”