Gore blimey! Former VP attacks Obama's climate change record

"President has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the crisis."

File under "With friends like these". This is what former Vice President Al Gore has had to say about President Obama's record on climate change:

[Obama] has simply not made the case for action. He has not defended the science against the ongoing, withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community, including our own National Academy, to bring the reality of the science before the public.

In a 7,000-word article for Rolling Stone, Gore maintained that the President "has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis". Ouch. The piece is equally, if not more, critical of the media and of America's law makers in Congress but Gore does not stint in his criticism of Obama and in particular his inability to make the case for action.

While acknowledging the nature of the task in hand ("Those of us who support and admire President Obama understand how difficult the politics of this issue are in the context of the massive opposition to doing anything at all") Gore nonetheless concludes that Obama has "failed to use the bully pulpit to make the case for bold action on climate change". Gore adds:

After successfully passing his green stimulus package, he did nothing to defend it when Congress decimated its funding. After the House passed cap and trade, he did little to make passage in the Senate a priority.

And for good measure:

He has also called for a massive expansion of oil drilling in the United States, apparently in an effort to defuse criticism from those who argue speciously that 'drill, baby, drill' is the answer to our growing dependence on foreign oil.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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Shimon Peres dies: President Obama leads tributes to Israel's former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner

World leaders rushed to pay tribute to the former Israeli president and Nobel Peace Prize winner. 

Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister, president and Nobel Prize winner has died aged 93.

Peres, who served as prime minister twice and later became Israel's ninth president, suffered a stroke two weeks ago and has been seriously ill at a hospital near Tel Aviv since. His condition had improved before a sudden deterioration on Tuesday led to his death.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his role negotiating the Oslo Peace Accords a year earlier, which talked of an independent Palestinian state. 

His son Chemi led the tributes to his father — praising his seven decades of public service and describing him as "one of the founding fathers of the state of Israel" who "worked tirelessly" for it.

World leaders rushed to honour his memory with President Obama calling him "the essence of Israel itself".

"Perhaps because he had seen Israel surmount overwhelming odds, Shimon never gave up on the possibility of peace between Israelis, Palestinians and Israel's neighbours," Obama wrote.

Britain’s chief rabbi Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis bid farewell in an emotional statement: "There will be countless tributes to Shimon Peres over the coming days, but I fear that few, if any, will adequately capture the palpable sense of collective grief felt across the world, nor do justice to the memory of a true giant amongst men," he said.

"It is true that Shimon Peres was a great statesman. He was the noblest of soldiers, a born leader, a uniquely talented diplomat, an inspiring speaker and a relentless campaigner."

The former US president Bill Clinton called Peres a "genius with a big heart" and said he would never forget “how happy” Peres was in 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed on the White House lawn. 

"The Middle East has lost a fervent advocate for peace and reconciliation and for a future where all the children of Abraham build a better tomorrow together," he said.

"And Hillary and I have lost a true and treasured friend.”

Peres’s former political opponent, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in his statement: “Along with all the citizens of Israel, the entire Jewish people and many others around the world, I bow my head in memory of our beloved Shimon Peres, who was treasured by the nation.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that "even in the most difficult hours, he remained an optimist about the prospects for reconciliation and peace".

French president Francois Hollande said "Israel has lost one of its most illustrious statesmen, and peace has lost one of its most ardent defenders"

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and Indian PM Narendra Modi have also paid tribute.

Among the world leaders expected to attend his funeral in Jerusalem on Friday are President Obama, Prince Charles and Pope Francis.