Brokaw: Americans Must Sacrifice to Fight Global Warming

Three days after former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech outlining his plan for countering climate change, he appeared on “Meet the Press” with Tom Brokaw who lauded the former Vice President's efforts but also pressed him on his own energy usage and suggested that Americans must sacrifice in order to fight climate change.

Brokaw started off his program lauding Gore, claiming that since losing the presidency to Bush in 2000, Gore has “since focused on his environmental crusade, winning an Oscar for his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ as well as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. On Thursday he proposed a bold new plan to address global warming and the energy crisis.”

After Gore joined the program, Brokaw again lauded the former Vice President and showed his personal beliefs on global warming by describing him as “Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner and crusader for conservation of energy and attacking the climate change that we're all experiencing in this country.”

Throughout the interview, Brokaw talked about the need for Americans to sacrifice in order to fight climate change four times, once implying that everyone believes we must suffer pain for the cause:

I don't think anyone doubts that we have to make some profound changes in this country and make some tough decisions and maybe even suffer some pain…

He later suggested that people will just have to deal with the problems that would arise:

Is it time for American politicians, Republicans and Democrats and independents alike, to say to the American people, "We're going to have to go through some pain here; $4 gasoline, it's a price that you're paying. We're going to have to get through this. You can't expect the government to bail you out. We're going to have to move to another level in which we can produce alternative energy, and you're going to have to live with that."

Gore’s personal energy usage also came into question, with Brokaw condemning him for using too much energy and calling for a surcharge on jet fuel:

BROKAW: The Building Green Council gave you its second highest award. But Stephen Smith, who is with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, is troubled by the scale of your home. He said, "We all need to evaluate what we ... need in square footage." Present company included. We all have to look at scale, don't we? Why was it necessary for you to have a 10,000 square foot home? Because that is going to be more energy intensive than a smaller home for just the two of you.

[…]

BROKAW: How often do you fly on a private jet?

GORE: I've--much more frequently on public transportation. I'm flying on Southwest Airlines again today. But sometimes the schedule requires that, and sometimes I do that.

BROKAW: Should there be a surcharge on jet fuel, cost for private aviation, which is expanding exponentially in this country, and it leaves a very large carbon footprint?

VICE PRES. GORE: Fine by me. Sounds like a good idea.

Nevertheless, Brokaw showed his desire for Gore to re-enter the arena of politics, pressing him five times on if he would consider another government post:

BROKAW: How can you, given the passion that you feel about this issue and the enormity of the, of the dimensions that we're dealing with here, turn down the idea that you could be in the administration as a vice president or as an energy czar or as both?

[…]

BROKAW: But there's no--there is no power like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for setting the agenda, for drawing attention to it, for moving the country, and for moving Congress. Mr. Vice President, no one knows that better than you do.

[…]

BROKAW: Could you, could you be talked into going back into government?

GORE: No. This feels like the right thing for, for me to be doing.

BROKAW: It's Shermanesque.

GORE: Well, a general...

BROKAW: There are--under no conditions would you go back into government.

GORE: General Sherman famously said, "If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve." I already ran--I, I, I'm not running for the--I didn't run for the nomination, and I've already been elected and didn't serve.

BROKAW: There's no way that you could go back in...

GORE: Joking about that.

BROKAW: ...with or without the help of the U.S. Supreme Court?

For the full transcript of the interview, click here.