Cannes 2017: Al Gore, undaunted by Trump, talks red-state victories and 'An Inconvenient Sequel'

It has not been a very good year for those concerned with climate change. 

The U.S. is considering leaving the landmark Paris climate pact, a hostile appointee leads the Environmental Protection Agency and right-wing websites chortle, “Trump’s Latest Move Will Make Al Gore Fry.”

But is Al Gore himself despondent or depressed about it all? Not in the slightest.

“I’ve been inoculated in the year 2000,” he says, combining a burst of genial good humor with a reference to his presidential election loss to George W. Bush. “I now have a resistance to being disheartened, the antibodies are still thriving in my bloodstream.

“As we all learn, one of the hidden secrets of the human condition is we learn the most from our most painful experiences.”

To spend time with Al Gore is to meet a man enough at ease with himself to dress as if for a Senate hearing in white shirt, suit and tie even though he’s in the south of France; a warm, engaged, surprisingly funny individual whose innate courtesy has him personally hang a reporter’s sports coat on a nearby hotel room hanger.

Yes, he does tend to stay on message when he talks (how could he not) and he likes to draw graphs in the air with his hands (“I’m going to get a little geeky for a moment,” he apologizes with a smile, “I’m sorry, it’s a failing”).

But he combines this with good humored self-awareness and a fiercely committed intelligence.

“If you think I’m earnest now, you should have seen me earlier,” he says. “You can’t change who you are. At times I’ve tried, but I’m old enough to stop worrying.”

Gore is in Cannes to promote the worldwide release of an impassioned and involving new documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel.” Due in U.S. theaters on July 28, it brings us up to speed on where the battle against climate change stands more than a decade after the Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

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