Al Gore: Blame the Koch brothers for the GOP's climate change denial

The former vice president says the reason for the Republican Party's stubbornness is "not really that complicated"

Published May 13, 2014 2:18PM (EDT)

  (AP/Elise Amendola)
(AP/Elise Amendola)

Speaking with former senior Obama advisor David Axelrod at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics on Monday, one-time two-term vice president and Democratic Party presidential nominee Al Gore argued that the GOP's refusal to acknowledge the existence of climate change could be explained by one simple word: Koch.

After noting that, in recent years, the GOP has taken a step backwards when it comes to addressing climate change, Gore claimed the reason "why they have all cowed into abandoning" their previous recognition of climate science is not "particularly complicated."

Republican politicians, said Gore, will "face primary opponents financed by the Koch Brothers, and others who are part of their group, if they even breathe the slightest breath of sympathy for the truth about climate science."

"It's not really that complicated," he added.

Responding to video Axelrod had shown, in which Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul relies on a word salad to imply the science backing climate change projections is more complicated and contested than many believe, Gore continued, "And of course, Sen. Paul is from a coal state — but even if he were not ... anyone who wants to set his or her aspirations on the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016 already knows that they can't possibly cross the Koch brothers and the others that are part of that group, the large carbon polluters and ideological anti-statists who are really terrified that the government will do anything new."

"So, as Grover Norquist said famously years ago," Gore added, "they want to shrink the government to where it can be drowned in a bathtub."

Watch Gore's remarks below:

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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