Former Vice President Al Gore says Republican reluctance to acknowledge global warming has "reached toxic levels" because candidates fear losing campaign contributions from corporations that profit by treating the planet like an "open sewer."
Gore's remarks came during an impassioned speech at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics on Monday, where he criticized politicians' cold stance toward the increasingly hot climate as a casualty of political self-interest over public good.
“It all boils down mainly to one problem, and that is that the influence of money has reached toxic levels,” said Gore, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Whenever the Republican Party allows its candidates to legislate and to speak on the basis of what climate science actually says, there will be many ways to work together,” he argued. “Is there a way to compromise? Well, of course. But you can’t compromise a core value like the survival of civilization.”
A long-time environmental advocate, Gore reignited the green, clean-energy movement in the aughts with his 2006 Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth and won a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to raise awareness of climate change.
Last week, the White House released a report detailing the impact of human-created climate change on United States, warning that "Americans are noticing changes all around them" and calling for urgent action to combat effects including volatile weather and rising sea levels.
A United Nations panel issued another dire prognosis in April, giving a 15-year deadline for reducing atmosphere-destroying greenhouse emissions.
None of these reports stopped Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a potential candidate to run for president in 2016, from remarking on Sunday that the "climate is always changing," "humanactivity has nothing to do with it" and attempts to address it "will destroy the economy."
Take it away, Al:
"If, God forbid, you had chest pains and somehow were magically able to consult with the 10,000 leading heart specialists in the world and 9,999 of them said ‘Oh my God, you’ve got to take this medicine, change your diet, get some exercise ... but out of the 10,000, you find one that said 'Well, I don’t know yet. The jury is still out.’ What would you do?"