COP27: Reactions As Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Register More Than Any National Delegation From Africa

a protest at cop27
Nigerian Tribune
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

COP27: Reactions As Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Register More Than Any National Delegation From Africa

Reactions have continued to trail the revelation that 636 fossil fuel lobbyists registered to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

These lobbyists are said to be affiliated with some of the world’s biggest polluting oil and gas giants.

A statement from Corporate Accountability noted that this indicates “a rise in the influence of the fossil fuel industry at the climate talks that are already rife with accusations of civil society censorship and corporate influence.”

According to Corporate Accountability, its data analysis of the UN’s provisional list of named attendees, done in collaboration with Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), and Global Witness (GW), reveals the scale at which corporate actors with a stake in the continued burning of fossil fuels have been enjoying access to these critical talks.

“The findings are giving fuel to a growing global push to safeguard the talks from polluter interference. Researchers counted the number of individuals registered – either directly affiliated with fossil fuel corporations, including the likes of Shell, Chevron and BP; or attending as members of delegations that act on behalf of the fossil fuel industry," the statement reads.

Corporate Accountability stated that the analysis finds that oil and gas influence at COP is growing: 636 fossil fuel lobbyists registered at COP27, an increase of over 25% from COP26 held last year in Glasgow. This is more fossil fuel lobbyists than any single national delegation, besides the UAE who have registered 1,070 delegates compared to 176 last year; 70 members of their delegation this year are classified as fossil fuel lobbyists.

Corporate Accountability added that despite being the “African COP” there are more fossil fuel lobbyists registered than any national delegation from the African continent. Twenty-nine countries in total have fossil fuel lobbyists within their national delegations. After the UAE, Russia has the second most with 33.

Also, there are more fossil fuel lobbyists registered than representatives of the 10 countries most impacted by climate change according to GermanWatch (Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, Philippines, Mozambique, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Nepal).

Reacting, Phillip Jakpor, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, said: “There’s been a lot of lip service paid to this being the so-called African COP, but how are you going to address the dire climate impacts on the continent when the fossil fuel delegation is larger than that of any African country? More than 450 organizations around the world are calling on world governments to do what they should have done from day one. It’s time to kick Big Polluters out! No more writing the rules or bankrolling the climate talks. ”

Jakpor also told Tribune Online that “The finding reinforces the conviction of the climate justice community that the COP has become a jamboree. Or else why will such a huge number of fossil fuels lobbyists get accredited to attend the negotiations when frontline community people practically get none?”

Also speaking to Tribune Online at COP27, Nnimmo Bassey, the Executive Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), said: “The activities of fossil fuel companies are the primary causes of global warming. The lack of progress at the climate talks is also due to the influence of the same companies and other climate deniers.

“They are equally one of the major blocs responsible for the false solutions being promoted rather than real solutions. The false solutions include carbon markets, which African leaders are pointedly aping at COP27. The false pathways include the voluntary premises of climate action known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

“The fossil fuel companies are using their oily fingers to push carbon capture and storage and other geoengineering false solutions through their heavy influence on the negotiation texts (especially at Article 6.4).

“We thought we saw too many oil, gas and coal companies at last year’s COP, but their increased numbers here show they aren’t giving up on their efforts to subvert real climate actions and lock in dependence on their dirty fuels.

“The massive presence of fossil fuel companies at this COP highlights the fact that the process is compromised and that this COP is best defined as the Conference of Polluters.”

This story was produced as part of the 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. It was first published in The Nigerian Tribune on 11 November 2022 and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: A protest calling for the ejection of fossil fuel lobbyists from COP27 / Credit: Paul Omorogbe.

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