There are more than 600 fossil fuel lobbyists at the Cop27 climate conference, a rise of more than 25% from last year and outnumbering any one frontline community affected by the climate crisis.
There are 636 lobbyists from the oil and gas industries registered to attend the UN event in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. At Glasgow, the figure was 503, which outnumbered the delegation of any single country. This year the only country with a larger delegation is the United Arab Emirates, hosts of Cop28 next year, which has 1,070 registered delegates, up from 176 last year.
At Cop27, “the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists is greater than frontline countries and communities. Delegations from African countries and Indigenous communities are dwarfed by representatives of corporate interests”, said the group Kick Big Polluters out, which campaigns against the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists at the climate negotiations.
The data on lobbyists, compiled by the organizations Corporate Accountability, Global Witness and Corporate Europe Observatory, shows the growing influence of oil and gas interests at the climate talks. While many environmental groups hoping to encourage the transition away from fossil fuels say it can be beneficial to bring private interests to the negotiating table, these benefits risk being outweighed by the sheer size of the delegations and suspicions that lobbyists attend the talks to slow progress rather than discuss limiting their own industries.
Civil society groups fear that the increasing presence of fossil fuel lobbyists risks stymieing negotiations at an essential time, amid efforts to keep global temperature rises within the 1.5C of warming scientists agree is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.