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Al Gore coming to Pittsburgh next week for climate change workshop

Natasha Lindstrom
| Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, 7:15 p.m.
Al Gore speaks at the 'A conversation with' event during the 13th Zurich Film Festival on October 8, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Getty Images
Al Gore speaks at the 'A conversation with' event during the 13th Zurich Film Festival on October 8, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Al Gore will be in Pittsburgh next week headlining a three-day climate change workshop for more than 1,000 environmentally minded activists, scientists and community leaders.

The former vice president is scheduled to give a two-hour talk and moderate a panel discussion during the 36th Climate Reality Leadership Corps training session Oct. 17-19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The event also will feature Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Andre Heinz, chairman of The Heinz Endowments , a local foundation giant whose grantmaking priorities include a focus on the environment.

Gore has been increasingly vocal about his disappointment in President Trump's lack of urgency in responding to climate-related issues, telling talk show host Bill Maher in August that he had met with Trump before and after the election and thought "there was a chance he might come to his senses. ... But I was wrong."

In June, Trump thrust Pittsburgh and Peduto into the global spotlight when he withdrew from the Paris climate pact and remarked in a speech, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."

At the time, Peduto said he was "personally offended" by the reference and reaffirmed Pittsburgh's commitment to mitigate the effects of global warming.

"In his speechwriters' mind, Pittsburgh is this dirty old town that relies on big coal and big steel to survive," Peduto said at a June 1 news conference . "He completely ignores the sacrifices that we made over 30 years in order to get back on our feet in order to be creating a new economy, in order to make the sacrifices to clean our air and clean our water."

This week, the Trump administration further irked environmentalists by rescinding Obama-era regulations on nuclear power plants . The now-nixed Clean Power Plan would have expedited the nation's shift away from coal-burning plants toward renewable energy and natural gas.

"The war on coal is over," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt declared in the coal mining state of Kentucky. Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, was among about two dozen attorneys general who sued to stop President Barack Obama's push to limit carbon emissions.

Gore, who lives in Nashville, has juggled several roles since departing the White House: He's chairman of Generation Investment Management, a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; a member of Apple Inc.'s board of directors; and a best-selling author.

According to his latest bio , Gore spends the majority of his time working on The Climate Reality Project, the nonprofit organization he created to focus on solutions to global climate problems. The group says it has trained more than 12,000 people in 137 countries.

The nonprofit's work is featured in Gore's newly released documentary, " An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," a follow-up to his Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change."

Next week's workshop will prioritize issues specific to Western Pennsylvania, "highlighting both the opportunities and challenges Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas face in confronting the climate crisis," a news release states.

The Associated Press contributed. Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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