COP28: in Dubai, massive presence of fossil fuel lobbyists

Their presence has never been so important during a climate conference (COP)

COP28: in Dubai, massive presence of fossil fuel lobbyists

Their presence has never been so important during a climate conference (COP). Nearly 2,500 fossil fuel lobbyists have obtained accreditation for the COP28 organized since November 30 in Dubai, lamented a coalition of NGOs, Kick Big Polluters Out, in a press release on Tuesday, December 5.

This grouping of 450 organizations – including Global Witness, Greenpeace and Transparency International – relied on the provisional list of participants published by the UN which, according to them, is probably underestimated, since its analysis is based solely on data public.

The “line by line” count of NGOs does not take into account lobbyists from other polluting sectors but counts “any individual who can reasonably aim to influence” COP28 “in the interest of fossil companies and their shareholders » as a lobbyist would do, they specify in their text. For the first time, participants had to provide information about their employer and the relationship, financial or otherwise, with the entity requesting accreditation on their behalf. “I have no confidence in the fact that the COP will succeed [if] the United Nations continues to allow the fossil fuel industry” to lead the debates, Thomas Harmy told Agence France-Presse Joseph, from the American NGO Indigenous Environmental Network.

Only the delegations from Brazil (more than 3,000 people) and the United Arab Emirates (nearly 4,500 not including their 4,900 guests), where COP28 is taking place, are larger than the fossil fuel lobbyists, who outnumber delegations from the ten countries “most vulnerable to climate change” (1,509 people) and representatives of indigenous populations (316), also reports Kick Big Polluters Out. Many countries have thus included representatives of national oil or gas companies in their delegation: France accredited the CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, Italy allowed the arrival of ENI executives and the European Union, that of employees of BP, ENI and ExxonMobil, according to the NGO coalition.

Criticism against the president of COP28

Since the start of this COP28, the shadow of fossil fuel lobbyists has continued to loom large while the gradual exit from the use of coal, oil and gas is at the heart of negotiations to combat global warming.

The president of the conference, Sultan Al-Jaber, who also heads the national oil company, has also come under numerous criticism in recent days after the publication on Monday of a video by the British daily The Guardian. The images show an exchange on November 21 between former Irish President Mary Robinson, a member of the Global Elders group, and Mr. Al-Jaber, who questions the need to move away from fossil fuels to limit global warming to 1 .5°C – the most ambitious objective taken during the Paris agreement in 2015.

“I will in no way subscribe to alarmist discussions,” asserts Mr. Al-Jaber during this discussion. No scientific study, no scenario, says that the exit from fossil fuels will allow us to reach 1.5°C. (…) Show me the roadmap for an exit from fossil fuels that is compatible with socio-economic development, without sending the world back to the age of caves. »

While negotiations between the 198 delegations continue, the second version of the text which will serve as a basis for discussion with a view to adoption at the end of the COP, officially scheduled for December 12, was made public on Tuesday morning. While all options are still on the table, those aimed at a “reduction” or “an orderly exit” from coal, oil and gas still appear in the text, which would be a first in the history of world conferences on the climate. “I have said again and again that the reduction and exit from fossil fuels is inevitable,” Mr. Al-Jaber argued on Monday during a press conference.