Al Gore: ‘There needs to be a political price' for climate 'denial’

Former vice president Al Gore on Monday called for making climate change "denial" a taboo in society.

“Within the market system we have to put a price on carbon, and within the political system, we have to put a price on denial,” Gore said at the Social Good Summit New York City.

“It is simply not acceptable for major companies to mimic the unethical strategy of the tobacco companies in presenting blatantly false information in order to protect a business model,” Gore added, alleging that’s what some oil and coal companies are doing. “There needs to be a political price for denial.”

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Gore last week cheered the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rule to set emissions limits for future power plants, calling it an “important step forward.”

But the former vice president has called for a more sweeping policy to impose a cost on carbon emissions; Gore has called for a “revenue neutral” carbon tax.

He urged attendees to challenge denial of climate change in conversations in families and communities and elsewhere. “We can win this conversation and winning a conversation can make all the difference,” Gore said. “Don’t let denial go unchallenged.”

Gore noted how racism and later homophobia have become increasingly unacceptable.

He pointed to news accounts of an instance in which two gay men were subjected to anti-gay insults by another customer in line at an Ohio pizza spot.

The other people in line and the employees uniformly condemned the insult, according to reports. A January New York Daily News account is here.

Gore reiterated his view that “we are at a political tipping point” on climate, citing high-profile extreme weather events in recent years such as Hurricane Sandy.

“I think we are right at a political tipping point, because people are hearing from their parents and grandparents and elders that it has never been like this before. These are new weather and climate conditions,” Gore said at the event.

The multi-issue Social Good Summit is hosted by Mashable, the United Nations Foundation and others.

This post was updated at 3:19 p.m.

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