'Architects of the Crisis': Fossil Fuel Industry is Largest Delegation at COP26

At least 503 oil and gas lobbyists have been granted access to the summit.

Climate Change
3 min read
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Edited By :Tania Thomas

The largest delegation present at the the United Nations' environmental summit COP26 represented the fossil fuel industry, a data analysis undertaken by Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Glasgow Calls Out Polluters and Global Witness revealed on Monday, 8 November.

The data indicated that at least 503 lobbyists linked with some of the world's biggest documented polluters such as Shell, Gazprom, BP have been granted access to the conference in Glasgow.

With over two dozen negotiators short of the fossil fuel camp, Brazil is the single largest national delegation present at the talks with 479 delegates.

The oil and gas lobby has long been documented to obfuscate the reality of climate change, hindering necessary systemic change and preventing any real cuts in global emissions.

Echoing this, Murray Worthy, a Gas Campaign Leader at Global Witness has stressed on the need for COP26 to be a success.

"The case for meaningful global action must not be diverted by a festival of polluters and their mouthpieces, who have no interest in seeing the changes we need to protect people and the planet," Worthy says.


What More Does the UN Data Show

Other revelations included in the analysis are:

  • More than 100 fossil fuel companies have representatives at COP with 30 trade associations and membership organisations also present.

  • The fossil fuel camp also outnumbers the total number of delegates from the worst climate-ravaged nations in the last two decades combined, i.e Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, Philippines, Mozambique, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Pakistan.

  • Fossil fuel lobbyists dwarf the UNFCCC’s official indigenous constituency by around two to one

  • 27 national delegations registered oil and gas lobbyists, including Canada, Russia, and Brazil

The analysis comes days after the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg addressed a climate demonstration outside the conference site in Glasgow, calling the UN climate summit a "failure".

"It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. This is no longer a climate conference. This is now a global greenwashing festival," the activist contended.

Pushing for shunning fossil fuel representation from the talks, another campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory reflected on the data findings and said:

"COP26 is being sold as the place to raise ambition, but it’s crawling with fossil fuel lobbyists whose only ambition is to stay in business. The likes of Shell and BP are inside these talks despite openly admitting to upping their production of fossil gas."
Pascoe Sabido, as per Global Witness Press Release

What 'The Architects of the Climate Crisis' Claim

Meanwhile, one of the most prominent fossil fuel interest groups, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), had acquired a seat at the table with 103 delegates. Of these, at least three people belonged to the oil and gas giant BP.

Global Witness noted that IETA is supported by oil firms who advocate for counteracting and carbon trading in a bid to continue extracting oil and gas, BBC reported.

Alessandro Vitelli, an IETA spokesperson claims, "We have law firms, we have project developers, the guys who are putting clean technology on the ground around the world, they're also members of our association as well."

As per Vitelli, carbon emissions will 'not come to a shuddering halt today and tomorrow', and a process of 'transition is underway'.

He says, "carbon markets are the best way to make sure that transition takes place".

Amidst widespread advocacy against using the vocabulary of climate activists while maintaining the status quo and making space of interests of the polluters, director of climate research and policy at Corporate Accountability, Rachel Rose Jackson observed:

"The architects of the climate crisis cannot build a liveable and just future when they’ve already burnt the house down."
Rachel Rose Jackson, as per Global Witness Press Release

She adds, "It is people on the front lines of this crisis, not polluters, who have the life raft we need at this moment.”

(With inputs from Global Witness and BBC.)

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Topics:  United Nations   Fossil Fuel   COP26 

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