Al Gore Says Fossil Fuel Industry Seek to ‘Capture’ Climate Talks

Fossil fuel interests are trying to co-opt the battle against climate change, Al Gore warned on Thursday, noting that the United Nations had appointed a top oil executive, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber of the United Arab Emirates, to lead this year’s global climate talks.

“That’s just, like, taking the disguise off,” Mr. Gore said at The New York Times’s Climate Forward event in Manhattan. “They’ve been trying to capture this process for a long time.”

Mr. Al-Jabar runs the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, which provides about 3 percent of the world’s oil. The Times has reported that the U.A.E. wants to be seen as a climate-friendly renewable energy superpower, even as it helps lock developing nations around the world into fossil fuel use for decades.

Mr. Gore, a former U.S. vice president who was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his climate activism, said that the fossil fuel industry was “far more effective as capturing politicians than they are at capturing emissions.”

“They have captured control of the political and policymaking process in too many countries and too many regional governments, and they’ve reached out to try to capture the U.N. process,” he said.

Fossil fuel industries, he said, “have portrayed themselves as the source of trusted advice that we need to solve this crisis. But they are responding to powerful incentives to keep digging and drilling and pumping up the fossilized remains of dead animals and plants and burning them in ways that use the atmosphere as an open sewer, threatening the future of humanity. It’s enough already.”

Despite the challenges, Mr. Gore urged attendees at the Climate Summit event to preserve hope, arguing that “climate despair” was “just another form of denial.”

“We have to resist it,” he said. “We don’t have time to wallow in despair. We have work to do and we can do this.”

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