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The President of the U.S. can better shape the response to climate change than any other person in the world. Given the importance of this issue and the fact that you have emerged as its global spokesman, don't you have a moral obligation to put yourself forward for the presidency?
I appreciate the question, but I have seen firsthand during eight years as Vice President the other prerequisites for the kind of galvanizing response that is needed. I believe this is the rare crisis that requires a fundamental shift in public opinion at the grass-roots level to embolden members of the Legislative Branch to take action. If I felt the best use of my talents was to pursue these solutions by becoming a candidate for President, I would do that. I have not completely ruled out the possibility that at some point in the future, I would do that. But I don't expect to. What feels right to me is to wage this different sort of campaign.
For all the momentum we're seeing, climate change hasn't really emerged as a top issue on the campaign trail.
I agree, and that tells me that the highest use of whatever experience I've gained along the way is best applied to the task of changing public opinion. If these candidates walk down the street in Manchester, N.H., and every other person they encounter buttonholes them about climate change, you would hear very different stump speeches. I'm doing everything I know to bring about that change. Might there come a time when the opportunity appears to make more headway and bring about more progress as a candidate? I doubt it, but maybe. I'm open to the possibility emerging.
John Doerr, your new partner at the venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, has said of climate change, 'Sometimes panic is an appropriate response.' How do you remain optimistic?
I do genuinely believe that the political system is not linear. When it reaches a tipping point fashioned by a critical mass of opinion, the slow pace of change we're used to will no longer be the norm. I see a lot of signs every day that we're moving closer and closer to that tipping point.
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