At COP27 there are 25% more fossil energy representatives than in the previous edition

At least 636 industry-related delegates have attended the climate summit in Sharm el Sheikh

REUTERS/THAIER AL-SUDANI  -   Sharm el Sheikh International Convention Centre during the opening of the COP27 climate summit

An investigation by the organisation Global Witness reveals that there are a total of 636 delegates related to the fossil fuel industry at COP27, the UN climate summit, 25% more than at COP26. 

The report, published on Thursday by Global Witness, reveals the willingness of the oil and gas sector to influence the multilateral negotiations, especially from the United Arab Emirates, which has brought 70 people linked to the energies responsible for global warming to the summit - designed to accelerate international climate cooperation. 

The UAE, which will host the next UN climate summit (COP28), brought 1,070 people to its delegation to COP27, while the last summit in Glasgow (UK) was attended by around 176 people representing the UAE. 

The total number of fossil fuel accredited delegates to the Sharm el-Sheikh summit outnumbers any of the delegations from the 10 countries most affected by the climate crisis, which according to GermanWatch are Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, the Philippines, Mozambique, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Nepal. 

The second country with the most delegates from the fossil energy sector is Russia, followed by Kenya, Congo and Oman, according to Global Witness, which already last year exposed that there were more fossil industry lobbyists at the climate summit than any other delegation (including Brazil, the largest in terms of number of accredited delegates).


The authors of the research emphasised in a statement that their report comes in the context of a forum in which "activists from the Global South, indigenous communities and others who disproportionately bear the brunt of the climate crisis have been left out of the talks due to high costs, visa problems and repressive measures by the host country," they said. 

Spokespeople for these civil society groups commented in the note that "this comes at a time when people around the world are suffering from the financial stresses caused by high energy prices and millions more from the disastrous impacts of the climate crisis". "Instead of being the start of the real climate action that is needed, COP27 looks set to be a festival of fossil fuels and their polluting friends, buoyed by recent windfall profits," they added. 

Global Witness also claimed that despite this summit being a supposedly "African COP", "there are more fossil fuel lobbyists registered than any other national delegation from the African continent". 

Activist protests 

The release of the document also coincided with the youth theme day, when protests were planned, and when summit attendees were met upon arrival at the venue with a banner reading "Kick out the big polluters". The message was written in English and in handwriting similar to the logo of Coca-Cola, the event's sponsor, which has been strongly criticised by environmental organisations and activists, who branded it as an effort at "greenwashing".