Al Gore has a mix of optimism and hope at the pace of decarbonization but seethes with frustration over the players he thinks are blocking faster progress.
The big picture: In a wide-ranging interview with Axios, the former Vice President and longtime environmental advocate discussed his investment firm’s latest insights on the state of the world’s transition to a low emissions economy.
Zoom in: “The crisis is still getting worse faster than we’re deploying the solutions. But the new momentum that is being built up is continuing to increase. And there’s reason for believing that soon we will be able to gain on the crisis itself,” he said optimistically.
Between the lines: The fossil fuel industry plans to continue to rely on fossil fuels as its core business, Gore argued. He blasted their talk of becoming more diverse energy players, or moving beyond their oil and gas divisions, as mere greenwashing and distraction.
Despite the increasingly clear effects of climate change, “the fossil fuel industry still has a degree of control over the conservative movement, the Republican Party, their allies in various sectors. And I have to believe that that’s going to, to begin to fade,” Gore said.
The intrigue: Gore hasn’t shied away from criticizing the oil and gas industry. He criticized the selection of Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber as the president-designate of the upcoming climate summit in Dubai.
Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries have frustrated efforts during recent climate summits in Scotland and Egypt to agree on language calling for a fossil fuel phaseout.
What they’re saying: The UAE COP28 leadership argues that inviting all parties to the talks, including oil and gas firms, is a move toward getting meaningful proposals from all players.
Yes, but: Gore sees fossil fuel companies as locked into their current business models.
The bottom line: What animates Gore is a perceived disconnect between how fossil fuel companies portray themselves on climate, and what they’re actually doing.