Former vice president and climate change activist Al Gore endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for president during an Earth Day campaign event on April 22. The same day, Gore’s work in championing the multibillion dollar wind and solar energy industry met with criticism from Oscar-winning film-maker Michael Moore in his provocative new film “Planet of the Humans.”
SURPRISE! I’m bringing you a brand new feature film, right now, just finished, and just posted minutes ago on my YouTube channel! “Planet of the Humans”, executive produced by me and directed by my longtime co-producer, Jeff Gibbs. Check it out: https://t.co/XjUbneDJQe
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) April 21, 2020
Gore’s endorsement comes as former Vice President Biden seeks credibility with voters as he tries to unify Democrats ahead of the Nov. 3 election against Republican President Donald Trump.
“I am so proud to endorse your candidacy, Joe,” Gore said. “Your election is absolutely crucial, Joe, and I want to do everything I can to convince everybody that cares about the climate crisis, particularly those people, that this is a no-brainer.”
Gore, who endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, served as the vice president to former President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001 and became known for his activism on climate change after he lost a bitterly contested close-call election for president against George W. Bush in 2000. He went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize together with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.
However, Moore and veteran environmentalist Jeff Gibbs, who wrote, directed, and narrated “Planet of the Humans,” which they released to YouTube on Earth Day, took a swipe at Gore over his support of renewable energy in the form of solar, wind, and biomass.
Gibbs argues in the film, which has been viewed almost 3 million times, that replacing fossil fuels with these technologies is not only unrealistic but damaging both to the environment and carbon emissions targets, given the carbon-intensive industrial processes crucial for the production of “green energy.”
The film has stirred much debate and controversy, with anti-fracking filmmaker Josh Fox calling for an apology and “immediate retraction” of the documentary, and environmental policy writer Michael Shellenberger voicing his support for the film’s “honest” exploration of the renewable energy industry.
Biden’s Carbon Emissions Plan
Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, said as the country contends with the CCP virus outbreak and resulting economic downturn, jobs in so-called “clean energy” could drive economic recovery.
Green jobs “can be the very thing that helps us get through this existential threat to our economy,” Biden said on a podcast.
Biden has called for spending $1.7 trillion over a decade on electric car charging stations, high-speed railroads, renewable energy research, and other infrastructure that could limit the predicted impacts of models that indicate climate change. His policy plan, dubbed the “Clean Energy Revolution,” wants to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In mid-April, as Democrats were eager to project unity heading into the race against Trump, Biden received a string of high-profile endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former President Barack Obama.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee also endorsed Biden on Earth Day. He ended his own presidential campaign in August 2019 after running on a climate change platform but failing to reach the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold of 2 percent to proceed to the next round of debates.
Inslee said during an episode of Biden’s podcast that the last Democratic presidential candidate had supported the creation of “clean energy” jobs during the economic recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis as part of the Obama administration.
“As a result of this, you have helped create 3.3 million jobs in clean energy—jobs that didn’t exist before,” Inslee said.
During his year-long presidential campaign, Biden has regularly been confronted on the campaign trail by climate change activists who thought his policies were too moderate. Biden sometimes told those people to vote for someone else.
The former vice president does not support a ban on fracking, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions but is a source of jobs for members of Democratic-aligned labor unions as a result of the Obama administration’s support of natural gas from 2008 onwards, when it encouraged the displacement of coal as an energy source.
Biden’s goal to significantly curb carbon emissions by 2050 is also viewed by some activists as a too-distant goal.
Reuters contributed to this report.