The massive presence of representatives of the fossil fuel industry in international climate negotiations worries environmental NGOs, which are calling for stricter rules.
“If the fossil fuel industry were a country, it would have by far the largest number of delegates at COP26”. This is whataffirms this Monday the NGO Global Witness, who went through the list of participants in the UN Grand Climate Raout in Scotland. Result: 503 coal, oil and gas lobbyists were accredited. A higher number than the Brazilian delegation, whose list is however the most extensive with 479 people.
A higher number, too, than the sum of the delegations from Puerto Rico, Burma, Haiti, Philippines, Mozambique, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Pakistan. These eight countries have been the most affected by climate change over the past two decades. Unlike poor countries, the fuel industry therefore does not seem to have had any difficulty in sending representatives of its cause to COP26. The identified lobbyists are spread over 27 official delegations from countries, including Canada, Russia and Brazil.
“The researchers counted the number of people directly affiliated with fossil fuel companies, including companies like Shell, Gazprom and BP, or who were members of delegations acting on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.”, specifies the NGO. In particular, it counted more than 100 fossil fuel companies represented at COP26. Global Witness, as well as Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Glasgow Calls Out Polluters, who also participated in this analysis, denounce the problematic presence of these lobbyists. These NGOs are calling for stricter rules in the future, namely the exclusion of any participant with financial or direct interests in the production or combustion of fossil fuels.
The credibility of COP26 is also at stake. “The presence of hundreds of people paid to promote the toxic interests of polluting fossil fuel companies will only increase the skepticism from climate activists who see these talks as further evidence of the procrastination and delay by world leaders ”, argues Murray Worthy of Global Witness.
“It’s as if the tobacco companies have a say in public health policy. Fossil fuel companies have repeatedly tried to derail climate change measures, first by denying it and now pushing for questionable ‘solutions’ that distract from the harsh emission reductions we need ”, adds Sam Leon, Head of Data Investigations at Global Witness, on Twitter. Halfway through the crucial COP26, the developing countries once again castigated on Monday the commitments they considered insufficient from the richest countries. Activist Greta Thunberg, for her part, has already described this COP as a “failure” in front of thousands of young demonstrators on Friday in Glasgow.
Source: Libération by www.liberation.fr.
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