Climate activists are protesting the large number of fossil fuel delegates attending the COP27 summit in Egypt. According to research by Global Witness, an international NGO, there are 25% more fossil fuel delegates at COP27 than there were at COP26.
Calculations by Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory in conjunction with Global Witness found of the more than 44,000 people registered to attend the COP27 summit, at least 636 are representatives of fossil fuel companies. This is compared to the 503 fossil fuel representatives at COP26 last year.
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Activists and scientists are angered by the move since climate change is strongly linked to fossil fuels. They say lobbyists have been used to fuel climate change denial, greenwashing and human rights violations.
“Tobacco lobbyists wouldn’t be welcome at health conferences, arms dealers can’t promote their trade at peace conventions,” said a spokesperson for Global Witness and its partners in a statement. “Those perpetuating the world’s fossil fuel addiction should not be allowed through the doors of a climate conference.”
Activists, NGOs and many other say that lobbyists are used by fossil fuel companies to buy themselves more time. These companies use the money they have amassed to buy lobbyists as a way of influencing lawmakers. They argue that, if the change has to be attained, fossil fuel delegates must be excluded from the meetings. Instead, they want more vulnerable groups included in the conversation.
“It is abhorrent that these dirty dealers are allowed to meddle in climate talks,” said Ukrainian climate activist Svitlana Romanko. “Some of them are complicit in Russia’s war crimes and should be under international tribunal together with bloody petro-dictator Putin rather than lobbying at the highest levels or earning credibility, being a part of national delegations.”
While countries are sponsoring groups of fossil fuel advocates, developed countries that suffer the worst are not getting heard at the summit. Phillip Jakpor from Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa said Africa is underrepresented compared to the fossil fuel lobbyists.
“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?” Jakpor said.
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