TORONTO — While Al Gore has plenty of praise for Justin Trudeau’s efforts to combat climate change, he says there’s still room for improvement on the prime minister’s environmental agenda.
Trudeau makes a brief cameo in Gore’s new climate-change documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”
The former U.S. vice-president is seen having a quick chat with Trudeau during the 2015 United Nations climate-change conference in Paris.
Trudeau was among the world leaders, including former U.S. president Barack Obama, who helped formally ratify the global treaty to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change and pay for mitigation measures. U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced plans to withdraw from the agreement.
“I’ll tell you, for me, Justin Trudeau has been a real breath of fresh air, and Canadians should know that he and his team made a huge difference in the Paris negotiations in helping the world come together,” Gore said in an interview Friday. “He’s really provided outstanding leadership.
“I don’t agree with everything he’s doing, but I admire his leadership and the vision and the speeches and what he’s been doing and saying, and what he’s been doing has really made a huge difference.”
When asked about his specific areas of disagreement, he pointed to the “continued heavy use of fossil fuels,” such as Trudeau’s support of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. He didn’t single out Canada, noting that the U.S. is also heavily reliant on fossil fuels.
“I completely understand that this is a time of transition and so moving forward to get the policy right, to get the price on carbon to work with the provinces, to work in the global community to get the right agreement worldwide, that’s really a crucial step that we have to take right now,” he said.
Jeff Skoll, the Canadian-born producer of “An Inconvenient Sequel,” said that they had a recent screening of the film in Washington, D.C., a few nights ago for individuals from the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and “other Washington insiders.” He said the Trudeau introduction to Gore elicited an overwhelming response.
“Literally everyone in the theatre burst into applause at that moment, really in recognition that Canada has been showing the way and the courage to tackle these environmental issues,” said the Montreal-born, Toronto-raised Skoll.
“Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has a real mandate and real budget to do real things and American companies are looking at ways to work with Canada directly to make a difference. So I think there’s a lot of good stuff that is going on here in Canada and I think it’s important for Canadians to know that.”