Al Gore: Tea Party making climate science a ‘political football’

Al Gore is on the political offensive against global warming skepticism in the Tea Party movement.

“Unfortunately the Tea Party movement seems to want to make belief in science a political football,” the former vice president wrote on his website Tuesday afternoon (and tweeted about today).

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Gore, a longtime advocate of capping greenhouse gases, points to a New York Times story this month that said, “Skepticism and outright denial of global warming are among the articles of faith of the Tea Party movement.”

The story cites a recent New York Times/CBS News poll showing that only 14 percent of Tea Party supporters say global warming is having an effect now, and more than half say it won’t have a serious effect in the future.

Gore and former President Jimmy Carter (along with liberal activists) are highlighting ties between the Tea Party movement and fossil fuel interests — including the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by billionaire David Koch of the energy company Koch Industries.

“It’s not a surprise that the groups supporting the Tea Party are funded by the fossil fuel industry,” Gore wrote on his website.

Carter, speaking Monday on the MSNBC show "Hardball," said, “The Tea Party movement has been ... almost completely financed by hard-right oligarchs who want to prevent the oil companies and major corporations from having to pay their share of taxes or to comply with environmental laws.”

The Times piece looked at Tea Party backing from conservative groups that oppose greenhouse gas curbs.

“FreedomWorks, another group supported by the oil industry, helps organize Tea Party rallies and distributes fliers urging opposition to federal climate policy, which it calls a ‘power grab,’” notes the story published a week ago.