Former vice president and environmental advocate Al Gore blasted the choice of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to give the Republican response to the State of the Union address as "dangerous" and "pitiful."
Speaking at a town hall-style Q&A session set to be broadcast on SiriusXM radio Thursday, Gore took the Republican Party to task for having Rubio, who has stated his disbelief in man-made climate change many times in the past, respond to President Barack Obama's address.
"For them to put on a response to this constitutionally mandated State of the Union address and have it come from somebody who says that global warming isn't real is pitiful really," said Gore, responding to a question from host Ari Rabin-Havt on how the American people should contrast Obama's call for action to combat climate change with Rubio's response.
"Both of our major political parties [need] to operate on the basis of fact and not be told what's acceptable to believe by big polluters," Gore said. "It is extremely dangerous."
Rubio has been vocal in his denial of humanity's role in climate change. In his response to Obama's State of the Union, Rubio stated that, "no matter how many job-killing laws we pass, our government can't control the weather."
He reiterated this belief during an interview on "Fox and Friends" the next morning, adding that, "there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much greater than we are at this point, China, India, all these countries that are still growing. They’re not going to stop doing what they’re doing. America is a country, it’s not a planet."
Environmental activists were quick to correct Rubio, stating that only China, a country with a population nearly four times the size of the United States, emits more global warming pollutants than the U.S., and that China and India, in fact, have cap-and-trade systems to control emissions, while the U.S. does not.
Rubio's climate comments clash with scientific consensus. A 2010 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences surveyed 1,372 climate researchers and found that "97–98 [percent] of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of [anthropogenic climate change] outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."