|BY KELSEY BRUGGER AND ARIANNA SKIBELL||
Former Vice President Al Gore speaks during an event in Sydney, Australia. | Brendon Thorne/Getty Images
|Al Gore’s home state of Tennessee is smack at the center of what clean technology boosters dub America’s new Battery Belt.
From Michigan to Georgia, factory proposals for building advanced batteries and electric cars, and plans for making more solar panels and microchips, are creating a “new political reality,” the former vice president told POLITICO’s Power Switch earlier today.
“The Republican powers that be in Georgia are now very excited about the battery plant and auto plants and electric vehicle plants,” Gore said. “The same here in Tennessee. The same in many states.”
From where Gore sits, the billions in clean energy spending and tax credits signed into law in August have obvious upsides for job creation. But American consumers are still being sold on the benefits of the federal largesse. To that end, Gore says he hopes to fill an information void.
The Climate Reality Project, Gore’s advocacy group, is launching “virtual training” in April. Consumers can sign up to learn about the climate law’s green goodies, including electric vehicle subsidies, heat pump rebates and money for farmers. Live broadcasts, he said, will feature Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy; Biden administration officials such as Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality; and climate advocates.
Gore, who wrote and starred in the film An Inconvenient Truth, is urging Americans to complete his “Power Up Training” and join the Climate Reality Leadership Corps — all with the idea that building a consumer base around clean energy is critical to moving the ball on policy.
Gore’s push comes as the Biden White House tries to sell its legislative victories to voters ahead of the 2024 election. That could be a heavy lift for Democrats, considering recent polling showed most Americans have heard little or nothing at all about the climate law.
But Gore shrugged off concerns, reasoning any federal legislation probably garners little attention from people outside Washington. Many folks are just “doing their jobs and taking care of their families, their homes,” he said. “They’re not following this step by step.”
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