Just when you thought all was lost in terms of U.S. commitment to embrace clean energy and battle global warming, Ivanka Trump is trying to help her dad do the right thing. On Monday, Nobel laureate and former VP Al Gore made his way to Trump Tower in New York City to meet with Ivanka about why the Trump administration should heed warnings from the scientific community about the seriousness of global warming and embrace greener sources of energy. And guess who showed up at the meeting? The Donald himself…
Where has Al Gore been for the last 10 years, you may wonder? As John McReynolds reported in EarthTalk, Gore has been busy, albeit less in the public eye. After losing the Presidency to George W. Bush in 2000, Gore devoted himself to climate change activism, speaking tirelessly all over the world, producing the book and then movie versions of An Inconvenient Truth, and forming the non-profit Climate Reality Project focusing on climate campaigning. Gore was a key negotiator at last year’s landmark Paris climate accord, and remains passionate about enlisting everyday people as “global citizens” in efforts to curb carbon emissions.
But perhaps more importantly, and of more interest to a guy like Donald Trump, is what Al Gore has been doing with the other 50% of his time: making money. His “green” investment firm, Generation Investment Management, only puts money into a hand-picked portfolio of socially and environmentally responsible companies — and has outperformed market indices and non-green competitors over its first ten years in business. With a 10-year average of 12.1 percent yearly increase, GIM ranked second among more than 200 firms analyzed by the consulting firm Mercer recently. No doubt this kind of dollars-and-sense talk could make Donald’a ears prick up.
But environmentalists shouldn’t start salivating just yet. As Chelsea Harvey and Chris Mooney run down in the Washington Post, many of the Donald’s apparent choices for key posts in the cabinet and below (at State, Interior, Energy, EPA, and Homeland Security) are populated by climate deniers, EPA-haters, drill-baby-drillers and their ilk — all of whom would be hard pressed to accept an about-face on climate by the Donald at this late date. Plans are no doubt already well underway to wiggle out of the Paris climate accord and reduce EPA to a shell of its former self.
This is precisely why we need Ivanka to stick around. Conflicts of interest? Fuhgeddaboudit. The current plan is for Ivanka to step back come Inauguration Day and focus on building and selling Trump properties around the globe and marketing her jewelry line while her dad runs the country. But maybe we shouldn’t be trying to move Ivanka back into the private sector quite so fast. She may be the only voice of reason left around the Donald these days.
The media first picked up on Ivanka’s conscience-bound sway over her dad when the Donald unveiled new leftish policy proposals for lowering childcare costs — including guaranteeing six weeks of paid maternity despite GOP groans — that she reportedly crafted for him. The First Daughter-elect is also passionate about “equal pay for equal work,” assuring voters that she would make sure her dad sees straight on the issue, Republican orthodoxy be damned.
Likewise, Ivanka is passionate about climate change solutions. Leonardo DiCaprio recently had a private meeting with Ivanka during which he presented her with a copy of Before the Flood, a climate change documentary he produced.
Anni Karni calls Ivanka on Politico.com “Trump’s avatar among the moneyed left-wing elite…now poised to be the first ‘first daughter’ in modern history to play a larger public role than the first lady.” Karni adds that “Ivanka wants to make climate change — which her father has called a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese — one of her signature issues.” Getting her father an hour with Al Gore, who won a Nobel prize for his activism on the issue, is certainly a good place to start.
Only time will tell where we go from here. With a transition team hell-bent on ramping up fossil fuel development at any cost and a First Daughter fancying herself a climate-czar-in-waiting, the Donald has us all in suspense once again, only this time the fate of the planet might be at stake.