Though reportedly dismayed by President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, former Vice President Al Gore says environmental activists have throttled up efforts to combat climate change in response to the president's actions.
"I was worried when Donald Trump made that speech [announcing the withdrawal] it would have a negative effect," Gore told Newsweek. "I was worried that some other countries might pull out and use him as an excuse, but that didn't happen. The very next day the entire world redoubled their commitments to the agreement."
Gore believes Trump inadvertently drove forward the cause.
"I do think that the reaction to Donald Trump is actually driving much more momentum in the climate movement," added Gore, according to Reuters.
Gore elaborated by saying that the ramping up of environmental efforts may have something to do with adversarial relationships the president has built during his time in Washington.
"I think he has isolated himself," said Gore. "Even today in the U.S., members of his own political party in the House [of Representatives] and the Senate are beginning to separate themselves from him, and why wouldn't they?"
Although the president announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the international treaty designed to combat carbon emissions, the country will have to wait until at least November 2020 until it can be released from the obligations of the agreement.
"The U.S. will meet its commitments [on emissions] in spite of Donald Trump," said Gore, according to The Guardian. "Every other country has pledged [to combat climate change]. I think the psychological message is that the train has left the station. The signal sent to investors, businesses, individuals and civil society is extraordinarily powerful."
The former vice president noted that there may be some hope to stay in the Paris climate agreement if Trump is not re-elected.
"A new president could just give 30 days' notice and legally the U.S. would be back in," Newsweek reports.
Although he's hopeful businesses and politicians are invested in the fight against climate change, Gore still expressed cautious optimism.
"I'm not saying business and new technology will solve this on their own, but it is a tremendous benefit, a legitimate basis for hope," he said.
Gore's words come amid the release of his film "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," the follow up to his 2006 Oscar award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."