Almost 2,500 fossil fuel industry lobbyists at COP28, according to climate activists
Activists from the coalition Kick Big Polluters Out say at least 2,456 lobbyists from the coal, oil and gas sectors have been accredited for the COP28 climate conference in Dubai. This is four times the number of lobbyists at last year's summit in Egypt.
According to the analysis, the delegations from the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change - Somalia, Chad, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Micronesia, Tonga, Eritrea, Sudan, Liberia and the Solomon Islands - have only 1,509 members between them.
The summit in the United Arab Emirates will host a record number of about 97,000 participants, according to the UN. Climate activists claim France has included fossil fuel companies such as TotalEnergies and EDF in its delegation. Italy is said to be bringing a team of representatives from ENI, while the EU is bringing staff from BP, ENI and ExxonMobil.
"The toxic presence of big polluters has delayed us for years"
"Do you think that Shell, Chevron or ExxonMobil are sending lobbyists to observe the discussions passively?" said Alexia Leclercq of American NGO Start:Empowerment. "The toxic presence of big polluters has delayed us for years and prevented us from moving forward to keep fossil fuels in the ground."
A few days ago, COP28 president Sultan Ahmad al-Jaber suggested there was "no scientific" evidence that phasing out fossil fuels is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius. "Even a gradual phase-out of fossil fuels will not allow sustainable development unless you want the world to go back to living in caves," the Guardian quoted him as saying.
Al-Jaber's comments run counter to the purpose of the climate summit, which is to determine whether the world has done enough to meet international commitments made in 2015 to reduce global warming.
© PHOTO KARIM SAHIB / AFP