Business Standard

Fossil fuel lobbyists attended UN climate talks over 7,200 times: Report

The coalition said oil and gas major Shell has sent the most staff to talks over the years, with at least 115 passes granted by the UN

Exxon Mobil, Chevron reap over $31 billion profit from energy crunch

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Delegates with ties to the world's biggest polluting oil and gas firms have attended UN climate talks at least 7,200 times over the last 20 years, claims a coalition of civil society organisations.
The analysis by the Kick Big Polluters Out (KBPO) coalition comes amid a controversy over the appointment of Sultan Al Jaber, the head of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, as the president of the upcoming UN climate talks (COP28) in Dubai. Al Jaber has, however, argued that having the oil and gas industry at the table is essential.
Citing data on the attendees, the coalition said it underscores how organisations from countries "that are most responsible for global emissions are dominating the climate talks, attempting to influence progress on climate action".
"Since COP9 in 2003, employees of fossil fuel firms have attended negotiations a minimum of 945 times. Staff from the 'Big 5' oil giants ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP and TotalEnergies have been granted a minimum of 267 passes," it said in a statement.
"Representatives from trade associations representing the world's largest fossil fuel polluters have attended COPs at least 6581 times. These groups have used their attendance at COP to lobby to advance fossil fuel interests," it claimed.
Everyone who goes to UN climate talks is supposed to be part of a government team or an organisation allowed to be there. Many of these organisations are groups connected to fossil fuels. However, some people who work for fossil fuel companies might not say who they work for, so it's hard to count exactly how many of them are there. "As a result, these figures are likely to represent a significant undercount," the coalition said.
To check the undue influence of fossil fuel companies, the United Nations earlier this year said the delegates attending its annual climate summit will be required to disclose their affiliation.
According to the UN, fossil fuels coal, oil and gas are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
Findings from "The 2023 Production Gap Report" reveal that governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels than is consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the guardrail to avoid worsening of climate impacts.
The Emissions Gap Report 2023, released last week, warns that the world is heading for a nearly 3 degrees Celsius of warming if governments do not agree to and implement more ambitious targets.
According to the Energy Policy Tracker website, public financial support for fossil fuels, in the form of subsidies, investments by state-owned enterprises and lending from public financial institutions, exceeded USD 1.7 trillion globally in 2022 a record high.
This happened despite the promise made at the Glasgow Climate Conference in 2021 to accelerate efforts towards the phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
Fossil fuel-producing nations and companies have been pushing the idea that they should be allowed to keep extracting oil and gas as long as they capture carbon emissions using sophisticated technologies, which experts say are "expensive and unproven".
The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), whose members include Exxon, Chevron and BP, has been given at least 2,769 passes to attend the climate talks since 2003, according to the analysis.
The coalition said oil and gas major Shell has sent the most staff to talks over the years, with at least 115 passes granted by the UN.
"Disclosed representatives of the Italian major Eni, which is being sued for lobbying and greenwashing to push for more fossil fuels despite knowing the risks, have attended COPs at least 104 times, Brazil's Petrobras at least 68, BP at least 56 and Chevron at least 45 times," it said.
Of the top 20 trade groups by attendance identified in the study, all are headquartered in the Global North.
"This underscores how organisations from countries that are most responsible for global emissions are dominating the climate talks, attempting to influence progress on climate action that most directly impacts Global South communities who have done the least to cause the climate crisis," the coalition said.
"The research makes clear that the body in charge of implementing global policies to reduce GHG emissions is totally captured by the transnational companies that destroy the planet the most, said Pablo Fajardo, an Ecuadorian human rights defender. The COP must be freed from polluting companies, or the COP becomes partly responsible for global collapse," he said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Nov 26 2023 | 4:30 PM IST

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