It is estimated that more than 100 companies exploiting and using fossil fuels sent about 500 lobbyists to the talks at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, more than the total number of members of any national delegation present at the UN Climate Change Conference. Global Witness environment, quoted by CNN.
The group analyzed the UN’s provisional list of all people participating in COP26 by 12 November and found that at least 503 people with professional ties to coal, oil and gas companies are participating in the Glasgow talks and negotiations.
The list includes persons either directly affiliated with fossil fuel companies, including Shell, Gazprom and the British Petroleum Company, as well as participants who are members of delegations and groups acting on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.
According to Global Witness estimates, the fossil fuel industry has twice as many direct and indirect representatives at COP26 as the country’s largest delegation.
Representatives of the fossil fuel industry also exceed the number of delegates from the eight countries most affected by climate change in the last two decades: Puerto Rico, Myanmar, Haiti, the Philippines, Mozambique, the Bahamas, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
“The presence of hundreds of paid participants to defend the toxic interests of polluting companies in the fossil fuel industry will only increase the skepticism of environmental activists, who see these talks at COP26 as growing evidence that world leaders not disrupts action to address the climate crisis and delays the adoption of clearer measures to combat climate changeSaid Murray Worthy, Global Witness.
„It is time for politicians to show that they are serious in ending the influence of major polluters on the political decision-making process and in fostering a future in which the voices of experts and environmental activists come to the fore, “he said. Murray Worthy.
Canada, Russia and Brazil are among the countries of origin of many participants representing the fossil fuel industry.
Asked by reporters why the event’s organizers allowed such a large number of people active or connected to the fossil fuel industry to participate, COP26 President Alok Sharma said that “States decide who is part of their delegations. “
COP26 President Alok Sharma, attending one of the debate and negotiation sessions in Glasgow, which was allocated to the energy sector. Photo source: Getty Images
In turn, Patricia Espinosa, sExecutive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that the UN did not invite or recognize any official delegation of companies in the fossil fuel sector, but said that there is no control over the people that each country has registered as delegates. “It is indeed the sovereign right of every government to accredit each representative as part of its delegations,” Espinosa said.
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“We do not allow open lobbying or open promotion of oil and gas, because that would be against the objectives of the Paris Agreement and United Nations Framework Convention. However, governments appoint as representatives the people they consider appropriate “, Patricia Espinosa also underlined.
The data on the large number of lobbyists present in Galsgow comes amid growing criticism from civil society groups that the event organized by the UK government is not as inclusive as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised. COP26 President Alok Sharma stressed the need for social distance as the reason why some people, including those with observer status, could not enter the rooms where the negotiations took place the other day.
A recent report by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) found that many of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers still plan to step up production in the coming years and will burn far more fossil fuels by 2030 than committed to reducing consumption to meet climate targets.
Read also: CO2 emissions close to record levels before COVID pandemic (study)
Delegates from around 200 countries, climate experts and environmental activists take part in COP26 talks on the future of the planet and how environmental issues can be tackled. Photo source: Getty Images
UN climate experts have analyzed climate action plans in the world’s 15 major economies and found that the world will produce about 110% more coal, oil and gas by 2030 than would be needed to limit global warming to the threshold of global warming. 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
In fact, according to the annual report on climate transparency, which is carried out in accordance with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, carbon dioxide emissions have returned to high levels and their share has risen again in the 20 richest nations in the world. in 2021. The report says that CO2 emissions will increase by more than 4% this year in G20 countries, after falling by 6% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, the world is facing an average global temperature warmer by about 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period, which makes limiting future temperature increases extremely difficult.
One of the key objectives of the Scottish climate summit is to set concrete steps to maintain the goal of not raising the global average temperature above 1.5 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial period. However, one of the features of the new report on climate transparency is that environmental policies to combat global warming are not being implemented fast enough to be effective.
Fossil fuels affect public health
The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, gasoline and diesel, produces fine particles, known as PM2.5, which are loaded with toxins. Being extremely small, these particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause a number of health problems.
According to a 2020 report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), although the pollution situation in Europe has improved considerably in the last 10 years, more than 400,000 people still die prematurely due to pollution.
- 8.7 million deaths are caused by annual fossil fuel emissions, a much higher number than estimated by previous studies.
- The regions with the most polluted air due to fossil fuels include Eastern North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. They also have the highest mortality rate in the world.
- In many Eastern European countries the situation of mortality caused by pollution is well above the European Union average.
- Pollution causes chronic diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Many of these conditions can also cause more severe symptoms of COVID-19 and a higher risk of death.
- Romania is on the 8th place in the number of premature deaths caused by fossil fuel pollution, Bucharest being on the second place in the top of the cities with the highest health costs caused by pollution.
Read also: COP26: The biggest polluters do not give up coal. China, India and the United States have not signed the pledge
Editor: Marco Badea