‘A twisted joke’: UN flagship climate summit sees sharp jump in fossil fuel industry delegates


The surge in attendance associated with some of the world’s largest polluting oil and gas giants at COP27 would reflect the increase in the fossil fuel industry’s influence to shape the debate.

Ahmad Gharabli | Afp | Getty Images

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – More than 600 fossil fuel industry delegates have registered to attend Egypt’s COP27 climate talks, according to campaign group analysis, reflecting an increase of more than 25% from last year.

The surge in attendance associated with some of the world’s largest polluting oil and gas giants at the UN’s flagship climate conference reflects the increasing leverage of the fossil fuel industry to shape the debate.

Campaigners described the findings as a “twisted joke” and said it appeared to pave the way for COP27 as a “festival of fossil fuels and their polluting friends, buoyed by recent bumper gains”.

A spokesman for Egypt’s COP presidency was not immediately available to comment on the report’s findings.

About 35,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries are expected to gather in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss collective action to address the climate emergency.

An analysis of data from the UN tentative list of named attendees by campaign groups Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory and Global Witness found that 636 fossil fuel lobbyists were registered to participate in the talks.

That reflects an increase of more than 100 compared to last year’s talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

It means more fossil fuel lobbyists are represented at the two-week summit than any country other than the United Arab Emirates, where 1,070 delegates are registered, compared to 176 last year.

The data also showed that more fossil fuel industry delegates attended the COP27 than any national delegation from the African continent, despite the talks being described as the “Africa COP”.

Investigators searched the UN tentative list of named attendees to count the number of individuals registered, either acting on behalf of the fossil fuel industry or those directly affiliated with oil and gas companies, such as BP, Shell and Chevron.

‘Extraordinary presence’ of the fossil fuel industry

“As the time is running out to prevent climate catastrophes, major talks like COP27 must absolutely promote concrete action to end the toxic practices of the fossil fuel industry, which cause more damage to the climate than any other industry,” said a spokesperson for the company. the groups.

“The extraordinary presence of this industry’s lobbyists at these talks is therefore a twisted joke at the expense of both the people and the planet,” they added.

Certainly, the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is the main driver of the climate crisis.

A flurry of major UN reports published in recent weeks produced a stark assessment of how close the planet is to irreversible climate breakdown, warning that there is “no credible route” to limiting global warming to the critical temperature threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“A lot of lip service has been paid to the so-called African COP, but how are you going to deal with the serious climate impacts on the continent, when the fossil fuel delegation is greater than that of any other African country?” said Philip Jakpor of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa.

“More than 450 organizations around the world are calling on world governments to do what they should have done from day one,” Jakpor said in a statement. “It’s time to kick out big polluters! No more writing the rules or funding the climate talks.”

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