At least 2,456 fuel lobbyists have been given access to the COP28 summit in Dubai, a climate change coalition has claimed.
Kick Big Polluters Out (KBPO) called it an “unprecedented presence” and said representatives of some of the world’s biggest polluters were there.
It said fuel lobbyists were collectively the biggest delegation and received more passes than the 10 most vulnerable nations to climate change combined (1,609).
Many of the fossil fuel lobbyists are said to have gained access by being part of a trade organisation.
KBPO said the largest was the Geneva-based International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), who it said brought 116 people – including representatives from Shell, TotalEnergies and Norway’s Equinor.
France also brought “fossil fuel giants” EDF as part of its country delegation, said KBPO.
BP, ExxonMobil and ENI staff were also said to be among those in the European Union group.
Kick Big Polluters Out is a coalition of more than 450 international groups that support action on climate change.
It includes the likes of Greenpeace and ActionAid as well as many smaller local or regional organisations.
The coalition said it had analysed the provisional list of COP28 delegates “line-by-line in the most in-depth study into the fossil fuel industry’s presence at any talks to date”.
It said its estimate was probably conservative as it only counted people who openly declared their connection to fossil fuels.
It’s also a big jump on its count from the last COP in Egypt (636) and the 503 it counted at Glasgow the year before.
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Alexia Leclercq – from environmental education group Start:Empowerment – was one of several campaigners to speak out.
“Big polluters’ poisonous presence has bogged us down for years, keeping us from advancing the pathways needed to keep fossil fuels in the ground,” she said.
“They are the reason COP28 is clouded in a fog of climate denial, not climate reality.”
It comes soon after the head of the summit caused controversy by saying there was “no science” to suggest phasing out fossil fuels would help limit global warming to 1.5C – a key global target.
Sultan al Jaber was recorded saying “there is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C”.
He added: “A phase-out of fossil fuel, in my view, is inevitable, it is essential. But we need to be real, serious and pragmatic about it.”
Critics have questioned his suitability as head of COP because he’s also the boss of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
He’s also faced allegations the UAE wanted to use the summit to strike new oil and gas deals – claims he denied.
The summit, which opened last week in Dubai, is scheduled to run until 12 December.