COP27: Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Swarm Climate Talks

An analysis of the U.N.’s provisional attendance list shows that 636 fossil fuel lobbyists have been registered at the talks, up 25 percent from last year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres at the COP27 climate meeting in Egypt, Nov. 7. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

By Jake Johnson 
Common Dreams

The COP27 talks in Egypt have been billed as an opportunity for countries to “showcase unity” against the existential threat of climate change, but an analysis released Thursday shows there are more fossil fuel lobbyists attending the conference than representatives of the 10 nations most affected by the crisis, heightening concerns that industry influence will water down any agreements reached at the event.

data analysis of the United Nations’ provisional attendance list for the closely watched conference shows that 636 fossil fuel lobbyists have been registered at the talks, up 25 percent from last year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow.

According to Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory and Global Witness — the groups that conducted the analysis — there are more fossil fuel lobbyists registered at COP27 than any single national delegation with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.

While officials from the conference’s host country of Egypt have characterized the talks as “the African COP,” pledging to center the developing world in negotiations over climate solutions, fossil fuel lobbyists outnumber any national delegation from Africa, where oil and gas giants are aggressively pursuing new fossil fuel development even as climate-driven extreme weather ravages the continent.

Additionally, the new analysis shows there are more fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27 than officials from Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, the Philippines, Mozambique, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Nepal, which the GermanWatch Global Climate Risk Index deems the 10 countries most impacted by the worsening global climate emergency.

“With time running out to avert climate disaster, major talks like COP27 absolutely must advance concrete action to stop the toxic practices of the fossil fuel industry that is causing more damage to the climate than any other industry,” said a spokesperson for the three watchdog organizations. “The extraordinary presence of this industry’s lobbyists at these talks is therefore a twisted joke at the expense of both people and planet.”

Egyptian security around the COP27 venue, Nov. 7. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

list published by Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory and Global Witness shows that corporations and trade groups attending COP27 include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a powerful lobbying organization that has been dubbed the “chamber of carbon” — as well as Exxon, Chevron, and other major oil and gas firms.

The U.S.-based public relations firm that the Egyptian government hired to run communications for COP27 has close ties to the fossil fuel industry, with a client list that includes Exxon.

The outsized presence of the industry most responsible for the climate crisis has outraged climate campaigners, who are vocally protesting polluters’ influence on the COP27 talks as they continue to produce woefully insufficient action plans.

“The climate crisis is upon us, yet world governments continue to protect the interests of a few greedy corporations instead of the people who are most affected,” said the Kick Polluters Out campaign, which is holding a protest on the ground in Sharm El-Sheikh on Thursday. “Nowhere is that more clear than at COP27, where big polluters like fossil fuel lobbyists have once again converged to greenwash their polluting image and block the climate action we so desperately need.”

Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory and Global Witness noted that unlike fossil fuel lobbyists, activists from the Global South and others harmed disproportionately by the climate crisis “have effectively been shut out of the talks by high costs, visa challenges, and repressive actions by the hosting country.”

“Rather than being the start of the real climate action needed, COP27 looks set to be a festival of fossil fuels and their polluting friends, buoyed by recent bumper profits,” a spokesperson for the coalition said.

“Tobacco lobbyists wouldn’t be welcome at health conferences, arms dealers can’t promote their trade at peace conventions,” the spokesperson added. “Those perpetuating the world’s fossil fuel addiction should not be allowed through the doors of a climate conference. It’s time governments got out of the pockets of polluters, come to their senses, and help make COP27 the success the world vitally needs it to be.”

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

11 comments for “COP27: Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Swarm Climate Talks

  1. LeoSun
    November 12, 2022 at 11:11

    “The greedy hand of Governments thrusting themselves into every corner and crevice” of our life.

    – “DON’T drink the water. There’s blood in the water.”

  2. Susan Leslie
    November 12, 2022 at 09:42

    It’s all such a joke – these summits are all talk, talk, talk and no action. AND, what has the good ol’ USA contributed beside being one of the biggest GHG polluter in the world? Zero, zip, zilch, nada. Until people finally wake up and realize it’s all about the Profit and not about people and planet – we’re screwed…

    • J Anthony
      November 13, 2022 at 06:09

      Of course you’re right, but you know what’s worse? That so many, especially US citizens, know damn well it’s about profits-first, above anything, and still shrug. That’s even more disturbing, the apathy among those who know better.

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    November 11, 2022 at 10:30

    WHY??? are these piranha lobbyists even allowed to attend. The hypocrisy of the hole ‘show’ is sickening. And the same disgust goes for all the other world-wide gathering where the rich conspire how to screw us ‘sheeples’ even more. Is this the Western ‘culture’ on display? Shaming.

    • WillD
      November 11, 2022 at 22:16

      My thoughts exactly. Why are lobbyists allowed to attend? They are only there for one reason – to PREVENT any significant change! To bribe or coerce attendees NOT to agree to any action to reduce fossil fuel consumption and pollution.

  4. November 11, 2022 at 07:20

    These annual carbon-generating gatherings appear to be totally useless. It reminds of the Gandhi speech (from the movie) to the Indian National Congress, “What we say here means nothing to the masses of our country. Here, we make speeches for each other, and those English liberal magazines that may grant us a few lines. But the people of India are untouched. Their politics are confined to bread and salt. Illiterate they may be, but they’re not blind. They
    see no reason to give their loyalty to rich and powerful men who simply want to take over the role of the British in the name of “freedom.” … Until we stand in the fields with the millions that toil each day under the hot sun, we will not represent India.”

    Change the references from India to all humanity and he’s described exactly where we are–mired in power-games, greed and exploitation and its poisonous fruits: war, suffering and destruction.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      November 12, 2022 at 09:17

      There is a saying in Spanish: ‘habla mucho, dice poco’ – Talks a lot, says little.

    • Dr. Hujjatullah M.H.B. Sahib
      November 12, 2022 at 22:16

      I am no fan of Gandhi, but he is spot on here in your quote. As a covert tool of the British and adherant of Hindu casteism his wisdoms can’t be of much use even to India and Indians themselves some of whom continue to proud British slaves. Rishi Sunak is a good contemporary example, whom even the W.A.S.P. there couldn’t take too seriously.

  5. Scared Person Drinking
    November 10, 2022 at 22:32

    Just a few dozen owners of the fossil fuel corporations, are capable of sentencing hundreds of millions of human being to death (if not more), because the right to make a private profit overrides all other rights.

    Cool and normal.

    After the fossil fuel corporations discovered their products would actually kill hundreds of millions of people over forty years ago, at least, they decided to forge ahead for kick-arse profits anyway.

    …because that’s what a healthy economy does: it puts a price on killing people for private profit, and then claims there is no alternative, right?

    So you may have heard, that the hyper-aggressive imperial military which illegally murders millions around the world for profit and resource ownership and market expansion, doesn’t run on love and moonbeams, it runs on fossil fuels.

    We all work together to make sure the psychopaths who already own most of the world, get to make all the big global decisions, to enrich themselves with regular bloodbaths fueled by private industries which are deliberately causing an extinction level threat to the only planet we have. War with fossil fuel, to get control of fossil fuel resources, to war with fossil fuel, to make a profit, so the rich can live luxuriously before their wealth extraction process kills us all.

    Cool and normal.

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

    (Cool and Normal – see Juice Media)

  6. JohnB1
    November 10, 2022 at 22:03

    COP or Conference Of the Parties is being corrupted by money, power, avarice.

    Is this what Jack and Boby Kenedy took on? Is this what MLK took on? The guy invented intermitant wipers, the guy took on tobaco, Battle in Seatle.

    It is time.

    Violece manufactures resentments and the names of corupt perps change. C9ru0tion recycles.

    General strike, mass bds , shuts everything down but negotiation.

    • Lois Gagnon
      November 11, 2022 at 15:47

      I was thinking the same thing. It’s all we have left.

Comments are closed.