Al Gore says carbon polluters 'hacked' American democracy 'long before Putin'

Calling out the Republican party as "wedded to provable idiocy on climate science," Al Gore says it's time to "take back" American democracy and solve the world's most urgent crisis along the way.

Nearly a decade has passed since Gore accepted his Nobel Peace Prize after the release of "An Inconvenient Truth," and the former vice president returns to the silver screen when "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," hits theaters this weekend.

From rising sea levels to "rain bombs," promoting awareness on climate change remains Gore's central issue, but his message has broadened to include a rallying cry against the power of big money in modern American politics -- a campaign beast he describes as central to the proliferation of climate change denial.

Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power":

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Carbon Hackers

On Dec. 5, 2016, less than one month after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Al Gore met with the then-president elect at his Trump Tower abode in New York.

After warning that a Trump presidency would be a "climate catastrophe," Gore met with the billionaire businessman in hopes that a person who once deemed climate change a "hoax" and said he would "cancel" the Paris climate agreement while on the campaign trail could be eased out of hardline approaches to federal and global environmental policy.

"We're the only country in the entire world with a major political party wedded to provable idiocy on climate science," Gore tells AOL News. "There's an old saying that if you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be pretty sure it didn't get there by itself — and the same is true of these persistent levels of climate denial."

Gore describes a dark money ecosystem powered by fossil fuel giants who bankroll political action committees and lobbyists backing climate change-denying lawmakers and actively contrarian scientists who seek to sway public opinion on the scientific consensus that A. the Earth is warming, B. that warming is causing alarming changes to global weather patterns, and C. these hazardous outcomes are driven primarily by man.

SEE ALSO: Poll: Climate change and the Islamic State essentially tied as the world's top greatest threats

"[Denial has been] artificially created by the large carbon polluters who took a playbook from the tobacco companies and hired the same PR firms that previously hired actors and dressed them up as doctors to reassure people that there were no health consequences from smoking cigarettes," Gore says. "It's deeply unethical and immoral, but the carbon polluters have put so much money behind these efforts to create false doubts that they've pulled the wool over a lot of people's eyes."

Gore has revealed he spoke with Trump multiple times throughout the first months of his presidency, but admitted his thinking during discussions with the commander in chief after Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement in early June, saying, "I thought that there was a chance he would come to his senses, but I was wrong."

A majority of Americans -- including 57 percent of Republicans -- supported U.S. participation in the Paris deal, yet Trump ran as a populist candidate and prides himself as a president for the people and against "the swamp." Gore pushes back on this label in describing Trump as a president "in the grip" of corporate interests heavily vested in carbon, which scientists have deemed the driving force of climate change.

"Our democracy has been hacked by big money and lobbyists for polluters long before Putin hacked our democracy," Gore tells AOL News. "And too many politicians bow down to the large big money contributors because they feel like they have to beg them for money to buy TV ads."

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, workers in the oil and gas industries gave former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton $944,131 in campaign contributions, compared to $921,123 that Donald Trump received. While his campaign ended in July 2016, Bernie Sanders received $107,375 in contributions from the same donor pool. This, Gore says, signals a "healing" in American democracy.

SEE ALSO: There's a 95 percent chance the world will warm beyond a crucial tipping point — here's what that means

"The Bernie Sanders campaign, whether you agree with his agenda or not, proved that it's now possible to run a formidable campaign without taking any special interest money, but instead relying on small contributions on the internet," Gore says. "We are now beginning to see a turning in our democracy toward a restoration of the ability of the American people to reclaim what our founders intended us to have — a government of, by and for the people."

"Our democracy has been hacked by big money and lobbyists for polluters long before Putin hacked our democracy."

When he's not diving into the complexities of campaign finance, Gore is traveling with his painstakingly-topical and data-robust climate change presentation made famous in his first cinematic venture. From scenes at his climate leadership training workshops to a look at how the Paris climate agreement sausage was made, Gore's personal passion for the environment plays a more central role in his sequel than in his original film -- shining light on his hectic travel schedule, all-hours phone calls and constant tweaking of his methodically-crafted powerpoint.

A Persuasive Mother Nature

Florida was the state on America's mind in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a state ruling relative to the presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore ending the counting of Florida's disputed presidential votes.

Today, Florida plays a different role in Gore's life as the Miami-Dade region finds itself literally sinking due to sea level rise threatening city infrastructure with increasing frequency.

A scene from the new film shows Gore walking through flooded Miami streets on a sunny day with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is one of the more prominent city officials in the nation leading resilience efforts in the wake of

The wide spread of the Zika virus, Hurricane Sandy, the emergence of climate change refugees, the rapid melting of ice in Greenland, the rise in heat causing severely powerful storms -- each of these have been labeled an outcome of climate change. As the list of key climate change indicators grows, Gore believes public opinion will continue to curb on the issue.

"The climate-related extreme weather events have become so much more numerous and so much more destructive," Gore said over the phone. "Mother Nature is more persuasive than the scientific community, and people are feeling these impacts in their own lives."

RELATED: Climate change impact in Tangier, Virginia

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Climate change impact in Tangier, Virginia
A waterman sets out to set crab traps as the sun rises in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A grave stone rests on the beach where a cemetery once stood but has been washed away due to erosion in an area called Canaan in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge sets out to check his crab traps during the early morning in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge feeds his cats as he checks on his soft shell crabs at his shanty during the early morning in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Waterman Tabby Crockett (L) sells his peeler crabs to Mayor and waterman James Eskridge in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge's tattoo of the Jesus fish adorns his arm as he points out areas that have been completely eroded away in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An abandoned outboard boat motor sits against the man-made sea wall that was engineered by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1999 to prevent erosion in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun rises while a waterman passes crab shanties as he sets out for the day in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge checks on his soft shell crabs at his shanty during the early morning in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A cross stands at the mouth of the harbor reading 'Jesus is Life' in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Erosion eats away at the tip of the Uppards in an area called Canaan in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A grave stone rests on the beach where a cemetery once stood but has been washed away due to erosion in an area called Canaan in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Four-year-old Parker Shores walks down the middle of the street with his action figure toys in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Teenage boys play baseball on a dirt lot in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge checks on his soft shell crabs at his shanty during the early morning in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Danny Parks mans the fuel docks in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A waterman returns to the harbor with crab traps in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An area in the Uppards called Canaan where erosion has taken away what was once a settlement area with homes in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Army Corps of Engineers scientist Dave Schulte sits on the side of a boat as he rides out to check on current erosion to the Uppards in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge (L) speaks with waterman Rudy Parks (R) from the crab shanties in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Mayor and waterman James Eskridge stands on the peir speaking with his son William Eskridge in the early morning before setting out for a day of crabbing in Tangier, Virginia, May 16, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Supports jet out of the water where crab shanties used to stand on a patch of land now surrounded by water in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A boat line and the shell of a crab sit on the pier in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
William Eskridge pulls just caught crabs from a bucket in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Crab trap buoys hang from a fence in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A crane flies away with a crab in its mouth in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The water of the Chesapeake Bay crashes against the man-made sea wall that was engineered by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1999 to prevent erosion in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Waterman Bruce Gordy (R) talks with fellow waterman Allen Crockett (L), Frank Pruitt (2L), Robert Crockett (3L), Mayor James Eskridge (C) and Richard Pruitt (2R) during a meeting called 'The Situation Room' to discuss ongoing local concerns in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Benjamin Eskridge (L) carries a crab trap as he helps his grandfather Allen Crocket (R) prepare for the next day of crabbing in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An abandoned crab trap rest on the beach surf in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun sets on a cross reading 'Christ is Life' on a waterway in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A submerged boats rests under a bridge in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
William Eskridge pulls just caught crabs from a bucket and his grandchildren look over his shoulder in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Waterman Richard Pruitt looks on a during a meeting called 'The Situation Room' held with other senior local waterman in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Swamp grass and standing water take over the front yard of a home in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun sets over houses on the West Ridge neighborhood in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun sets in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The sun sets on a guard rail where love letters have been scribed on a bridge in Tangier, Virginia, May 15, 2017, where climate change and rising sea levels threaten the inhabitants of the slowly sinking island. Now measuring 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island has lost two-thirds of its landmass since 1850. If nothing is done to stop the erosion, it may disappear completely in the next 40 years. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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A Sustainability Revolution

Gore's legacy as a climate crusader began in 1976 when the then-Democratic senator held America's first congressional hearing on climate change.

"There is no longer any significant difference of opinion within the scientific community about the fact that the greenhouse effect is real and already occurring," Gore said at the time of the urgency with which America must face the global climate crisis.

A critical portion of the film shows Gore as a central deal broker in getting India to sign onto the Paris agreement. Acting as a middle man between SolarCity (a solar energy company based out of California) and India, Gore cuts out nation state-nation state negotiations and goes right to the source by harnessing the power of American capitalism.

When asked how the government can work better with the private sector in forging solutions relative to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, Gore offers one main suggestion of transferring government subsidies from "dirty coal" to renewable energy.

"We're seeing a sustainability revolution that has the magnitude of the industrial revolution but the speed of the digital revolution," Gore tells AOL News. "We're seeing efficiency improvements and emissions reductions and many businesses are way ahead of the politicians now, and thankfully a lot of governors and mayors are stepping up to fill the gap in saying, 'We're still in the Paris agreement. We're probably going to meet our commitments under the Paris agreement in spite of Donald Trump.'"

Gore spoke of the exigent nature of the global climate crisis when he received his Nobel Prize in 2007.

"The future is knocking at our door right now," Gore said. "Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: 'What were you thinking; why didn't you act? Or they will ask instead: 'How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve'"

RELATED: Al Gore through the years

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Former US Vice President and Climate Reality Project Chairman, Al Gore gives a speech during Abu Dhabi Ascent event, a ministerial meeting to prepare for a September 23 climate change summit in New York on May 4, 2014 in Abu Dhabi. Ban Ki-moon urged 'bold' actions by countries around the world to reduce greenhouse emissions and fight global warming. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
ASPEN, CO - JUNE 30: Hillary Rodham Clinton, David Gergen and Al Gore speak during Afternoon of Conversation at the Aspen Institute on June 30, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images)
ASPEN, CO - JUNE 30: Al Gore and Hillary Clinton speak during Afternoon of Conversation at the Aspen Institute on June 30, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, left, speaks as professor David Gergen listens during the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, June 30, 2014. The festival gathers some of the foremost thinkers in the world with civically-minded leaders in business, the arts, politics, philanthropy to share ideas and questions and drive thought to action. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore arrives to speak during the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, June 30, 2014. The festival gathers some of the foremost thinkers in the world with civically-minded leaders in business, the arts, politics, philanthropy to share ideas and questions and drive thought to action. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ASPEN, CO - JUNE 30: Al Gore speaks at Afternoon of Conversation during the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival at the Aspen Institute on June 30, 2014 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Producer Lawrence Bender (L) and Former United States Vice President Al Gore inside the 13th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball sponsored by Audi, Kayne Anderson and Stella Artois on June 7th, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Chrysalis)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: (L-R) Honoree Jim Berk, former United States Vice President Al Gore and Honoree Jeff Skoll inside the 13th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball sponsored by Audi, Kayne Anderson and Stella Artois in Los Angeles, California on June 7th, 2014. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Chrysalis)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Al Gore and Karenna Gore Schiff attend the 12th Annual James Parks Morton Interfaith awards dinner at Hilton Hotel Midtown on June 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Rev. Chloe Breyer, Rev. James Parks Morton, Al Gore and Karenna Gore Schiff attend the 12th Annual James Parks Morton Interfaith awards dinner at Hilton Hotel Midtown on June 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA MARCH 13: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Former US Vice President Al Gore addresses Climate Reality Leadership trainees at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 13, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Al Gore urged South Africa to cut back on coal-generated electricity and urged a new dialogue about the use of renewable sources and greener technology. (Photo by Denzil Maregele/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA MARCH 13: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Former US Vice President Al Gore addresses Climate Reality Leadership trainees at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 13, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Al Gore urged South Africa to cut back on coal-generated electricity and urged a new dialogue about the use of renewable sources and greener technology. (Photo by Denzil Maregele/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Former US Vice President Al Gore listens during a session in Davos on January 24, 2014. Some 40 world leaders gather in the Swiss ski resort Davos to discuss and debate a wide range of issues including the causes of conflicts plaguing the Middle East, and how to reinvigorate the global economy. AFP PHOTO ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)
Former US Vice President Al Gore speaks during the Center for American Progress(PAC) 10th Anniversary Conference in Washington, DC, October 24, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Gore often refers to his state of Tennessee frequently when contextualizing the heartland impacts of climate change -- and rhetorical gimmick or not, it's clear his mission to proselytize climate change advocacy hits home.

In the wake of Trump's pulling out of the Paris deal and rolling back of Obama-era environmental regulations, the 2018 elections will play a critical role in setting a tone for the future of climate change action, adaptation, resilience and preparedness on a city, state and federal level. With 2018 midterms on the horizon, candidates who feel morally inclined to stand up on, but Gore says that all depends on who they're accountable to.

"If candidates continue accepting huge contributions from polluters, of course they feel obligated to them, that's human nature," Gore said. "But candidates who are listening carefully to what the American people want — including moderates — will start advocating solutions to the climate crisis."

"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" is in theaters everywhere August 4.

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