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Al Gore. Photo: Matthias Nareyek/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

KATOWICE, Poland — Al Gore sat down with Axios for an exclusive interview at the annual United Nations climate confab, which this year is being held in this old coal-mining city.

Why he matters: The former vice president and long-time climate activist has been influential in raising awareness on climate change for decades and for what critics describe as polarizing the issue. Here are excerpts of our nearly 30-minute interview.

Gore recently endorsed the Green New Deal, a progressive, broad-brush outline of policies aimed at deeply cutting emissions while boosting employment, and a call for 100% renewable electricity.

“If done correctly, it’s part of the answering to the growing inequality. The so-called green new deal, whatever the details turn out to be, could create millions of jobs spread around every community in the U.S., and more than that around the world.”

When I said there aren’t many details of the policy, Gore responded: “I don’t know what the details are either.” He said he endorsed it because he thinks “the broad outline is pretty clear: create lots of jobs in pursuing this transition to a sustainable economy.”

Here at the climate conference, concern is growing among some nations and activists about to what extent the Trump administration is lowering ambition for the Paris Climate Agreement. President Trump has vowed to withdraw the U.S. from that deal, but Gore doesn’t think ambition is waning.

“I think people are acting in [spite] of President Trump. I think that the midterm elections were numerically the biggest repudiation of a sitting president in the history of U.S. midterm elections. I think that Donald J. Trump has become the global face of climate denial.”

Gore said he wasn’t concerned that an Australian government official spoke in support of the Trump administration’s event earlier this week at the confab backing cleaner fossil fuels.

“I think the current government of Australia may not be long for this world.”

What’s next: Gore is referring to an election next spring for the next prime minister of Australia. Gore said the more progressive party is ahead in the polls.

Go deeper

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.

10 hours ago - Sports

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.