Al Gore accuses PR firms of copying 'evil' tobacco industry tactics to promote climate confusion

Environmental campaigner Al Gore has told a London audience at a screening of his new film on climate change that the same PR firms who denied the risks of tobacco have been "putting pseudo-science" into public discussions on green issues.

Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel is the follow-up to 2006 film an Inconvenient Truth. The sequel had its London premiere last week, and Gore took questions at a screening on Friday in London's Picturehouse Central, with the discussion with journalist and broadcaster Liz Bonnin (see video below) streamed live on Facebook across a further 340 cinemas.

"The first movie added to the momentum of the climate movement, and it is our fervent hope that this one will add another burst of momentum," Gore said.

Asked about the backlash to the first film and the resistance that his activism and the broader climate change movement has seen, the former US presidential hopeful said: "There's an old saying in the state of Tennessee, where I grew up, that if you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be pretty sure it didn't get there by itself. When you see persistent levels of climate denial, almost uniquely in the US and to a lesser extent here in the UK, you can be pretty sure it that didn't happen by itself either."

He said it was "thoroughly documented" that companies producing carbon pollution had taken the "blueprint drafted by the tobacco companies" from the period when scientific evidence came forward.

"The carbon polluters, having many of them first of all investigated the climate crisis and privately come to the firm conclusion that, yes, it is real... hired many of the same PR agents that had done the evil work of the tobacco companies, and they set about putting pseudo-science into the public stream of discourse in order to try to confuse people into thinking that the scientists had not really arrived at a conclusion or even argued that the scientists are greed or evil, or were making the science up," said Gore.

However, Gore said he was confident that changing weather patterns meant these doubts would soon be assuaged, saying: "They continue to do this. Now, people are seeing through this because there is a new participant in the discussion; Mother Nature."

He also urged attendees to spread the word, saying: "If you like this movie and feel it's worthwhile, what matters most in recommending movies today in this noisy media environment is what people hear from their friends, from word of mouth, and social media."

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