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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

GOP Rep. Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced his retirement on Thursday, declining to run against a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2022.

Why it matters: Gonzalez has suffered politically since siding with House Democrats to impeach the 45th president after the Capitol riot.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.