Not only numerous environmental and development organizations are represented at the UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh (COP27), but also hundreds of lobbyists for climate-damaging fossil fuels. Compared to the COP26 in Glasgow, their number has increased by 133 representatives and thus a good quarter to 636, said the non-governmental organizations Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Global Witness (GW) on Thursday after evaluating the preliminary list of participants from the United Nations.
In the evaluation, participants were counted who have direct connections to fossil fuel companies such as Shell, BP or Chevron. On the other hand, the investigation also took into account members of state delegations who acted in the interests of the fossil fuel industry. According to the report by the NGOs, 70 members of the delegation from the United Arab Emirates can be classified as lobbyists for fossil fuels.
The NGOs criticized that although the world climate conference in Egypt is also known as the Africa COP, the number of lobbyists for oil, gas and coal is greater than any single delegation from Africa. They are also more numerous than the representatives of the ten countries most affected by climate change combined. Activists from the Global South, which suffers the most from global warming, are underrepresented at COP27 due to visa problems, repression by Egyptian authorities and high travel costs.
The UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh threatens to become "a festival of fossil fuels and their polluting friends," the three organizations said. Negotiators at COP27 must make progress on concrete measures "to stop the toxic practices of the fossil fuel industry, which harm the climate more than any other industry". "The extraordinary presence of this industry's lobbyists in these talks is therefore a bad joke at the expense of both people and the planet," the statement said. The UN climate secretariat must finally exclude these lobbyists from the world climate conferences.
The greenhouse gases such as CO2 released when gas, oil and coal are burned are the main reason for global warming and its fatal consequences, i.e. more and more droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, floods and sea level rise. Phillip Jakpor of Public Participation Africa said: "It's time to throw out the big polluters!"