Al Gore speaks on a stage.

Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, speaks onstage at The New York Times Climate Forward Summit 2023 at The Times Center on September 21, 2023, in New York City.

(Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for The New York Times)

Gore Calls Out Fossil Fuel Industry 'Shamelessness' in Lying to Public

"They are continuing to do similar things today to try to fool people and pull the wool over people's eyes just in the name of greed," the former vice president said.

In reflecting on nearly 50 years of climate advocacy, former Vice President Al Gore said that he had "underestimated" the greed of the fossil fuel industry.

The remarks came in an interview published in USA Today on Sunday. When asked if he had any regrets, Gore responded that he had "put every ounce of energy" he had into climate advocacy, but added:

"I was pretty slow to recognize how important the massive funding of anti-climate messaging was going on. I underestimated the power of greed in the fossil fuel industry, the shamelessness in putting out the lies."

"They are continuing to do similar things today to try to fool people and pull the wool over people's eyes just in the name of greed," Gore continued.

"What's at stake is so incredible."

Gore, who tried to raise awareness about the climate crisis in the U.S. House of Representatives as early as 1981 and brought the issue to national attention in 2006's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, has taken a harsher tone against oil, gas, and coal companies in recent months. In August 2023, he said that the "climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis," and in September, he implored the industry to "get out of the way." In December, he lamented that the industry had "captured the COP process," referring to the appointment of the United Arab Emirates national oil company CEO Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber to preside over the United Nations' COP28 climate conference in that country.

In the USA Today interview, Gore also named the fossil fuel industry when asked about his greatest frustration.

"Well, that we haven't made more progress," Gore answered, "and that some of the fossil fuel companies have been shameless in providing, continuing to provide lavish funding for disinformation and misinformation."

"What's at stake is so incredible," he added.

However, Gore told USA Today that he tried not to focus on his anger, but instead on continuing to raise awareness about the crisis and what can be done about it. And he remained hopeful that his grandchildren would live in a world in which people had come together and acted in time.

"We've got all the solutions we need right now to cut emissions in half before the end of this decade," he said. "We've got a clear line of sight to how we can cut the other 50% of emissions by mid century."

He also encouraged more people to get involved with the climate movement.

"I would say the greatest need is for more grassroots advocates because the most persuasive advocates are those in your own community," he said.

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