From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
In an interview that will air on MSNBC at 1:00 pm ET today, Al Gore rebutted Sarah Palin's Washington Post op-ed and Facebook postings that question the science on climate change given the "Climate-gate" controversy.
In response, Gore said that "the deniers are persisting in an era of unreality. The entire North Polar icecap is disappearing before our eyes... What do they think is happening?"
He said we've seen record storms, droughts, fires -- and the effects taking place are exactly as predicted by these scientists for years.
Asked about Palin's charge on Facebook that these are "doomsday scare tactics pushed by an environmental priesthood," Gore replied that the scientific community has worked on this issue for 20 years. "It's a principle in physics. It's like gravity. It exists."
Gore attributed the partisan divide (in recent Pew polls) over climate change in part to the fact that people believed to be the leadership of the modern Republican Party has adopted a global-warming-denier attitude. He said that 100% of the people who changed their opinion about global warming are conservative, adding that climate change should be a bipartisan issue like it used to be. He cited Lindsey Graham as one example of a Republican leader who accepts the science.
When asked about President Obama's proposal for Copenhagen being even less than the Clinton-Gore proposal for Kyoto in 1997, the former vice president said. "It's weaker than it should be, but it's a crucial first step." Gore added that Obama -- with whom he met on Monday -- shouldn't be expected to make commitments beyond what Congress is willing to do.
And was it a mistake to do health care first, since climate change is now delayed in the Senate? Gore responded that "hindsight is 20/20." If they had known that health care would take this long maybe they would have made different calculations, Gore said. But he noted that Obama has consistently made climate change one of his top priorities.
But: "I would always like to see more done."