Gore blames Koch brothers for GOP position on climate

Former Vice President Al Gore blamed Republicans’ fear of crossing the mega-donor Koch brothers for the GOP's skepticism on climate change.

Gore, during an interview Monday, said it is not "complicated why they have all been cowed into abandoning" their position on the issue, asserting that Republicans fear facing opponents financed by billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have poured millions into the midterm elections this year. 

"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 the group," Gore said Monday during a discussion at the University of Chicago. 

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The former vice president was reacting to recent comments made by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), two potential GOP presidential candidates. 

Rubio on Sunday said he doesn't believe human activity is creating dramatic changes to the climate as scientists say, noting the climate is always changing. 

Paul, during a discussion at the university last month, said the climate change debate in politics has been dumbed down, and said no one really knows why the climate is changing. 

"But we have 20-, 30-, 100-thousand-year sort of cycles that go on with the climate. It has been much warmer than it is today," he said at the time. "We have real data about 100 years. So somebody tell me what 100 years data is when the earth is 4.6 billion years old. My guess is that the conclusions you make from that are not conclusive."

Gore said there is a "enforced orthodoxy" in the GOP today to deny climate change. He noted that former presidential candidates Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mitt Romney both acknowledged climate change and "took steps to try and deal with it." 

"And there were a number of Republicans who took that position," he said. "I don't think it is particularly complicated why they have all been cowed into abandoning that position. They 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."

Democrats, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in particular, have tried to brand the Koch brothers as the new face of the GOP ahead of the midterms. Reid recently accused them of being one of the main causes of climate change.