Blistering Al Gore talk: fossil fuel companies are infiltrating our COPs (2023)


Oil and gas companies are influencing our COPs, says Al Gore in this extraordinarily fierce TED talk. He is angry. “The climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis,” he said.

Within ten minutes of his powerful address you experience his righteous anger. He talks about the opposition from the fossil fuel industry and their army of lobbyists and fixers, together with their revolving doors. “They have used fraud on a massive scale, capturing the policy-making process for decades.” They’ve had the evidence about climate change and have consciously decided to LIE to calm down the political process to make more money.

And all this while we struggle with extreme weather events caused by overshoot of our planetary boundaries. This week we have seen the town of Laihina reduced to ashes and dust and death after wildfires and high winds caused by the climate crisis.

Droughts and rain bombs come simultaneously and the scale is increasing

Their numbers of fossil company representatives at COP conferences keep increasing and they are having more influence, slowing down the process.

Every climate conference there are more delegates from the industry

“And now they have brazenly seized control of the COP process.”

Al Gore
COP25Madrid 2019340 delegates
COP26Glasgow 2021503 delegates, (more than any country)
COP27Egypt 2022636 delegates

At COP27 the petrostates vetoed any mention of phasing down fossil fuels. This year COP28 will be chaired by someone who has a terrible conflict of interest. The president is the chairman of the Abu Dhabi oil company, which is bigger than Exxon!

“Wait a minute! Do you take us for fools?”

Then he goes on to say that BP, Exxon Mobil and Shell are pretending to be our friends, and had promised to reduce emissions but in fact are now expanding oil exploration and production. They have rolled back their ideas and are now investing again.

He dismisses the viability of Carbon Capture and Storage and Direct Air Capture with great charts, saying the fossil fuel companies use that as an excuse but it never holds up to scrutiny. “It is not a get-out-of-jail-free card”.

What about offsets? He said Chevron’s offsets were analysed and it was found that 93% were junk. Offsets can of course play a role but only 5-10%.

Governments are still subsidising fossil fuel companies.

In 2022 governments subsidised fossil fuels to the extent of $1 trillion, which is five times the amount they did in 2020

60 of the largest global banks are investing in oil and gas exploration and production

“Since the Paris agreement, 6o of the largest global banks have invested an extra $5.5 in fossil fuels.” (And preposterously 49 of them have signed the Paris Agreement)

Gore asks a long list of questions that should be answered in the positive before any company is admitted to COP28.

He also notes that the Abu Dhabi National Oil company, whose chairman is to chair COP28, has scored 3/100 on a transition plan to renewables and has no transparency.

He notes there is a new head of the World Bank which will make it easier for developing nations when it comes to interest rates for loans.

Here is the link to Al Gore’s TED talk. If you are anything like me You will probably want to play it twice.