Controversial climate change conference resurrected in Trump's US

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NEW YORK, Feb 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A climate-change conference canceled just before the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump was resurrected on Thursday as former Vice President Al Gore said it was vital to "fill a void" on climate change.

Some 350 climate and health experts gathered at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, for a "Climate and Health Meeting" convened by Gore, academics and advocates after a similar conference by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was abruptly called off.

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Climate change: A look at polar ice melting
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Climate change: A look at polar ice melting
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 22: Seagulls sit on an iceberg on July 22, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 25: Pedestrians walk along the road on July 26, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 24: Jason Briner, with the University of Buffalo, Department of Geology, flies in a helicopter to a spot to gather samples of granite to research the age of the local glacial retreat on July 24, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 17: Icebergs float in the water on July 17, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 22: A fish hangs from a fishermans hook on July 22, 2013 in Ilulissat, Greenland. As Greenlanders adapt to the changing climate and go on with their lives, researchers from the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - AUGUST 01: Aerial view of melt season in the Antarctic Peninsula - Antarctica. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
KANGERLUSSUAQ, GREENLAND - JULY 14: Blooming flowers are seen near the glacial ice toe on July 14, 2013 in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. As the sea levels around the globe rise, researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND - JULY 15: A glacial toe is seen on July 15, 2013 near Ilulissat, Greenland. As the sea levels around the globe rise, researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
QAANAAQ, GREENLAND - AUGUST 01: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) A researcher of Japan's National Institute of Polar Research investigates the glacier coloured to red by being covered by glacier organisms on August 1, 2012 near Qaanaaq, Greenland. In Greenland there is said to be approximately ten percent of ice of the earth and the large scale melting of the glacier and ice may affect to the global climate change. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A child wades through the flood waters in front of the Doges' Palace, next to a flooded St. Mark's Square, in Venice on November 7, 2014. The high water, a combination of high tides and a strong Scirocco wind in the Adriatic Sea, stood at 110 centimeters early on November 7. The city has for years been wrestling with the problems posed by the threat of rising sea levels. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOOPERS ISLAND, MD - OCTOBER 30: Donny Willey stands near graves that were once several yards from the waters edge are now exposed and releasing human remains by the eroding waters of the Chesapeake Bay at the Anchor of Hope Cemetery October 30, 2014 in Hoopers Island, Maryland. Willey volunteered his time to try and save the cemetery from erosion and cannot get a permit from the state of Maryland to erect a seawall. The cemetery is the resting place of more than 150 men, women, and children; from the War of 1812 to veterans of several other wars, from the founding family of Hoopers Island to slaves and freed slaves. With sea levels projected to rise several feet over the next century, several islands in the Chesapeake Bay region are slowly eroding away. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
ROBBINS, MD - OCTOBER 09: A truck drives on Robbins Road that is flooded from the high tide of the Blackwater River October 9, 2014 in Robbins, Maryland. Several islands and property's located at sea level in the lower Chesapeake Bay region are slowly eroding away as sea levels rise. Officials have projected the sea level will rise several feet over the next century leaving many of the Chesapeake bay's lower islands underwater. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
HOOPERS ISLAND, MD - OCTOBER 08: A Snapping Turtle sits in the middle of the road October 8, 2014 in Hoopers Island, Maryland. Several islands in the Chesapeake Bay region are slowly eroding away as sea levels are projected to rise several feet over the next century. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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The CDC's own "Climate and Health Meeting" - which was to take place in early February also in Atlanta - was mysteriously scrapped days before the Jan. 20 inauguration.

A spokeswoman with the federal agency did not answer questions as to why the meeting had been canned.

Trump has dismissed man-made climate change as a hoax created by the Chinese and said during his campaign that he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

However, he has since said he had an "open mind" on the 200-nation accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuel.

Speakers at the CDC's Climate and Health Summit were notified in early January that the meeting was suddenly off, according to local media.

"For reasons we don't need to go into, (the CDC meeting) was abruptly cancel led, and the experts who had been looking forward to this felt it would be valuable to go forward with it anyway," Gore said in remarks at Thursday's gathering.

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Climate change in Norway
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Climate change in Norway

Svalbard islands in Norway.

(Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

A view of the Blomstrand Glacier, on June 16, 2016, in Ny-Alesund, Norway. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende toured the glacier, and made remarks about climate change. Kerry is visiting Norway's extreme north to view areas impacted by climate change with melting ice and the opening of new sea lanes.

(EVAN VUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunlight shines just after midnight on a fjord near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen, April 26, 2007. The sea water is normally frozen solid at this time of year but global warming may be warming the region.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Wild reindeer forage for food on the island of Spitsbergen on the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic circle as the Norwegian islands enter summer 'midnight sun' season.

(Ben Birchall/PA Archive)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende (C) make a tour of the Blomstrand Glacier on June 16, 2016, in Ny-Alesund, Norway. Kerry is visiting Norway's extreme north to view areas impacted by climate change with melting ice and the opening of new sea lanes.

(LARSEN, HOEKON MOSVOLD/AFP/Getty Images)

A reindeer walks on snow on June 4, 2010 in Ny-Alesund in the Svalbard archipelago.

(MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

Dutch scientist Appy Sluijs enters a cave at the bottom of the Longyearbyen glacier April 25, 2007 which has been shrinking fast in recent years. Many experts link the thaw to global warming.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Svalbard islands in Norway.

(Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

Screen grab from video I shot shows UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon pointing towards glaciers in the distance as Kim Holmen, research director at the Norwegian Polar Institute, shows the UN chief around the atmospheric measuring station in Ny-Aalesund, a climate change research station on the Norwegian island of Svalbard 0n September1, 2009. Ban is on a two-day trip to the Arctic Circle to see first-hand the effects of climate change ahead of key international climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

(JACQUELINE PIETSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

A reindeer is pictured on June 4, 2010 in Ny-Alesund in the Svalbard archipelago.

(MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

The sun shines low in the sky just after midnight over a frozen coastline near the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen, April 26, 2007. The sea water is normally frozen solid at this time of year but global warming may be warming the region.

(REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

Svalbard islands in Norway.

(Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

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CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said by email its long-planned meeting had been postponed and other options were being considered.

In an opinion piece published online on Medium.com on Wednesday, Gore said: "The event will fill a void."

Thursday's one-day meeting was organized by a coalition of non-governmental partners including Gore's non-profit, the Climate Reality Project, as well as the Harvard Global Health Institute.

In a keynote address, Gore listed the impact of warming temperatures and extreme weather on people's health, citing examples stretching from India to Brazil to China.

The dangers include a proliferation of heat waves with record-high temperatures that kill vulnerable people and the spreading of tropical diseases such as the Zika virus, he said.

Last month, Gore premiered at the Sundance Film Festival his new documentary, "An Inconvenient Sequel," a decade after releasing "An Inconvenient Truth," an Academy Award-winning documentary that turned him into a leading voice in the fight against climate change.

The Democrat, who served under former President Bill Clinton, met with Trump, a Republican, in December to talk about climate policy.

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)


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