(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump met with Al Gore in New York Monday to discuss an issue the Republican president-elect has long scoffed at: Global warming.
The meeting at Trump Tower was initially scheduled with the president-elect’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. After Gore emerged, the Democratic politician-turned climate activist told reporters he wound up spending "the bulk of the time" with Trump himself.
“I had a lengthy and very productive meeting about the transition with the president-elect,” said Gore, who campaigned on behalf of Hillary Clinton and shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Price for his climate-change work. “It was a sincere search for areas of common ground. I found it an extremely interesting conversation and to be continued, and I’m just going to leave it at that.”
The president-elect has sent mixed signals on the issue, and Ivanka Trump plans to make global warming one of her key issues once he takes office, according to the news site Politico.
“It’s good news that the president-elect is showing an open mind on climate change,” said Bob Deans, a spokesman for New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council. “Al Gore is a good one to talk to about this. A lot of what we heard during the campaign was troubling.”
Other advisers Trump has appointed have a taken a more hostile view on climate change. The head of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team, Myron Ebell, has pushed to defund United Nations climate programs. The president-elect’s NASA adviser, Bob Walker, told the Guardian that he would do away with funding for climate research.
Trump’s perhaps best-known statement on climate change came in a 2012 tweet saying that the concept was “created” by the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing less competitive. He shifted his tone somewhat last month during a meeting with the New York Times, saying there might be some “connectivity” between human activity and rising temperatures that are melting polar ice caps and have been linked to extreme weather around the world.
Trump’s incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus later clarified the statement on Fox News, saying the president-elect still believes global warming is mostly “a bunch of bunk.”