Fossil fuel lobbyists pour into COP28
The world's most important climate conference is a veritable who's who of polluter-funded climate delay.
It’s day two of the 28th Conference of the Parties, known as COP28, the world’s most important climate conference—and organizers have released a massive excel spreadsheet containing all the names and workplaces of in-person attendees.
HEATED spent yesterday going through that spreadsheet, and found hundreds of fossil fuel industry representatives who are actively working to delay climate policy at home. More like Conference of the Worst Party Ever!
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A team of 18 people from ExxonMobil, which lied about climate change for decades, including chairman and CEO Darren Woods, who said this month that climate solutions “have been too focused on reducing supply.”
A team of 14 people from Shell, including CEO Wael Sawan, who said this summer that the world still "desperately needs oil and gas.” The team also includes chief climate change adviser David Hone, who has notoriously bragged that Shell’s influence at previous COPs was responsible for changing the 2015 Paris Agreement to include carbon credits as a legitimate emissions reduction strategy.
A group of six representatives of the Edison Electric Institute, which is currently waging a U.S. lobbying campaign to oppose climate regulations on power plants. That group includes Rebecca Kujawa, the CEO of NextEra Energy, the company behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
A team of 12 people from TotalEnergies, including chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné, who said this summer that “our society requires oil and gas.”
A team of 11 people from BP, which walked back its promised emissions cuts after making more than $27 billion last year, including interim CEO Murray Auchincloss.
A team of seven from Chevron, whose CEO Mike Wirth recently said that building a new energy system without oil and gas companies is “just not a realistic way to see things.”
A team of 16 people from Gazprom, Russia’s national oil company, which has said that natural gas is compatible with limiting global warming.
A team of 18 people from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), not including CEO Sultan Al Jaber, who is also the president of COP28.
A whopping 112 people from the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), a group founded by polluters like Exxon and Chevron, which has been given at least 2769 passes to attend the climate talks since 2003.
A group of 11 people from OPEC, an international oil co-op that includes the UAE, including secretary general Haitham Al Ghais, who said this week that the industry was being “unjustly vilified” for “being behind the climate crisis.”
A team of four people from the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas industry’s most powerful lobbying group, which has spent over $127 million on lobbying since 1998.
Over 200 official country delegates who are actually from nationalized fossil fuel companies, including the Kuwait National Petroleum Company and the Gabon National Oil Company.
The only reason HEATED was able to find these representatives is because of new transparency rules which require COP attendees to disclose who they work for. Pushed heavily by watchdog groups, these new rules close a loophole that’s been in place since 1995 that allowed fossil fuel lobbyists to participate in U.N. climate summits without disclosing their corporate ties.
But even with these rules, it’s still difficult to piece together a comprehensive picture of the fossil fuel representatives at COP28. The spreadsheet contains more than 97,000 attendees, and fossil fuel companies are not clearly marked, so they must be found manually, making it impossible to get through every one in just one day.
So the names above are just the tip of the iceberg. We’ll be able to provide more accurate numbers next week, but our very rough and vastly underestimated calculations show at least 600 fossil fuel lobbyists at this year’s conference.
And experts like Patrick Galey, who has helped put together tallies of fossil fuel lobbyists at previous COPs as a senior investigator for Kick Big Polluters Out, say they predict that this year will have the most fossil fuel lobbyists ever seen at a COP.
“We believe that they will be coming there in record numbers with a view to trying to take up as much bandwidth as they possibly can,” said Galey. “[They’ll be pushing] any sort of policy suggestion that they can come up with that doesn't result in the world using fewer of their products.”
This is the fundamental conflict of the world’s most important climate conference: the leaders coming together to find solutions to the climate crisis include the same people profiting from the fossil fuels causing it.
More on this next week. In the meantime…
News from the first two days of COP28
Met with a standing ovation in Dubai, the agreement means wealthy states and major polluters will put millions of dollars towards a fund that will in turn distribute funds to poor states harmed by climate change. The fund will be administered by the World Bank. Initial commitments amount to $430 million.
During the summit, officials said, Ms. Harris will announce several U.S. initiatives related to bolstering climate resilience in other countries and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They said she would also discuss the passage of clean energy legislation during the first two years of the administration.
Hilda Heine, former president of the low-lying, climate vulnerable Marshall Islands, said reports that the UAE planned to discuss possible natural gas and other commercial deals ahead of U.N. climate talks were "deeply disappointing" and threatened to undermine the credibility of the multilateral negotiation process.
“We do not have much times to correct the mistakes of the last century,” he said. “Over the past century, a small section of humanity has indiscriminately exploited nature. However, entire humanity is paying the price for this, especially people living in the global south.”
(Our take: good message, interesting messenger.)
Asked whether any leaders had raised concerns about his decision to delay a ban on sales of new petrol cars, ease the transition to heat pumps and to grant new North Sea drilling licences, [Prime Minister Rishi Sunak] replied: "Hand on heart, 100% no." "Not a single leader that I've spoken to today has spoken about that. Do you know why? Because most of their targets are less ambitious than the UK's," he said.
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