Jason Madara for TIME
April 23, 2014 5:59 PM EDT

The most important solution to the climate crisis has long been obvious: put a price on global-warming pollution in markets. But the “hacking” of American democracy by the biggest polluters has convinced many that we will first have to put a price on global-warming denial in politics. And it is to this crucial challenge that Tom Steyer has brought his extraordinary intellect, focused enthusiasm and the considerable wealth he earned in a wildly successful business career. By rewarding candidates who favor action and opposing those who do not, he has already changed the political dynamic. [time-related-module]

Through his new organization, NextGen Climate, Tom is also helping to mobilize young voters and ensure that facts, not antiscience climate denial, have a better chance to prevail in races around the country.

There comes a time in every fight when the stakes are too high to back down and political hardball becomes necessary. Now is such a time, and it is heartening that Tom Steyer has joined the battle with passionate intensity, commitment and political skill.

Gore, a former U.S. Vice President, is chairman of the Climate Reality Project

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