‘Beyond justification,’ a Record Number of Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Attend Dubai’s COP28 Climate Talks

Fossil Fuel Lobbyists
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The COP28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates has seen a surge in the number of fossil fuel lobbyists, with around 2,456 estimated to have gained access, according to a report by the Kick Big Polluters Out coalition. This represents a significant increase from previous years and raises concerns about the influence of polluting industries at the summit. The number of fossil fuel lobbyists is only surpassed by Brazil and the host country, the United Arab Emirates.

Campaigners argue that the presence of such lobbyists is “beyond justification” and indicates an attempt by polluting industries to advance a fossil fuel agenda. However, some, including former U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz, argue that Big Oil’s participation at COP28 should be welcomed. The International Energy Agency has highlighted the oil and gas industry’s “moment of truth” regarding its role in the global energy system and the climate crisis.

The surge in fossil fuel lobbyists attending the conference follows calls from public officials and civil society groups to remove polluters from the talks. The language of the final agreement at COP28 will be closely watched, with debates over whether to commit to a “phase out” or “phase down” of fossil fuels. Russia has opposed the use of “phase out” language, while the host country, the UAE, prefers “phase down.”

The outcome of COP28 is seen by many as successful only if it results in a deal to phase out all fossil fuels, the primary driver of the climate crisis.

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