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‘If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts or in science or empirical truths.’
Leonardo DiCaprio took a shot at presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday, saying he should not hold public office at the South By South Lawn festival with President Obama. He also plans to make an emotional case against Trump in a movie hitting theaters prior to Election Day.
“The scientific consensus is in and the argument is over,” DiCaprio said. “If you do not believe in climate change, you do not believe in facts or in science or empirical truths and therefore, in my humble opinion, should not be allowed to hold public office.”
SXSL was held today for the first time at the White House in attempts to gather innovative people across the U.S. to help battle issues that the nation faces from poverty to curing cancer to climate change.
DiCaprio led a climate change panel with President Obama and climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe before hosting a special screening of his film, Before the Flood, for U.S. leaders.
At the panel, DiCaprio questioned Obama and Dr. Hayhoe on measures taken to address climate change, whether a carbon tax is a solution, and among follow-up questions, if our planet has the ability to regenerate if action is taken now.
Obama said the U.S. had recently done well in implementing solutions. This includes doubling fuel efficiency standards in cars, increased wind power and solar power production, and slowing carbon emissions faster than any other advanced nation. In light of last year’s Paris Agreement, committing 200 countries to reduce carbon levels, Obama said action by 200 countries is still not enough.
Dr. Hayhoe said that climate change will continue to amplify weather patterns: longer droughts, hotter and colder temperatures, and more catastrophic storms.
These changes are featured in DiCaprio’s film.
Before the Flood finds DiCaprio traveling around the world, talking to people who are most affected by climate change as well as exploring possible solutions. His travels included but were not limited to China, India, Greenland, and the Arctic. The film is set to release Oct. 21.
According to DiCaprio, the film is set to be released before the November election in efforts to familiarize people with climate change, highlight the scientific community’s voice, and show a sense of urgency.
Nidia Cavazos is a multimedia journalist with an emphasis on political reporting. She's contributed to Univision, KXAN, and USA Today College, and she was named one of six NBC Fellows by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2017.