Caption reads: In bed with big pollutors: EU floods COP28 climate talks with fossil fuel lobbyists

EU floods COP28 climate talks with fossil fuel lobbyists

Brussels, 7 Dec: The European Union and its Member States have brought more than 130 fossil fuel lobbyists into COP28, according to new research by Corporate Europe Observatory, a member of the Kick Polluters Out Coalition.

132 fossil fuel lobbyists, including the CEOs of TotalEnergies and Eni, have entered the UN climate talks in Dubai as part of the delegations of the European Commission and EU Member State governments like France, Belgium and Italy.

The findings build on new analysis showing that more than 2450 fossil fuel lobbyists have registered to attend the talks this year, almost four times as many as last year in Egypt. Big polluter lobbyists dominate the climate stage, surpassing the combined delegation of the 10 most climate-vulnerable nations. Their numbers also exceed sevenfold the presence of Indigenous constituency representatives eclipsing the voices and lived experience of the communities facing the worst consequences of climate destruction despite not having contributed to the problem.

Highlights from the new analysis include:

  • France and Belgium are the worst offenders, both bringing 26 fossil fuel lobbyists each, the highest number among delegates brought in by EU Member States and the Commission. France brought 6 lobbyists from TotalEnergies, including CEO Patrick Pouyanné.
  • Italy brought the third biggest party of lobbyists among the EU (18), with a large delegation from Eni (13), as well as lobbyists from gas pipeline operator Snam, and utilities Edison and Enel.
  • Senior Eni executives Claudio Descalzi (CEO) and Guido Brusco (COO Natural Resources) were not brought on the Italian delegation, but rather by the EU Commission. Eni is currently being sued for lobbying and greenwashing for more fossil fuels despite knowing their impact on climate change.
  • The Commission brought five fossil fuel lobbyists in total, including ExxonMobil's Vice President of EU Affairs Nikolaas Baeckelmans, BP Executive Vice President Giulia Chierchia and the CEO of Hydrogen Europe Georgios Chatzimarkakis.
  • The European Commission is bringing ExxonMobil's chief EU lobbyist into COP28 at the same time as the US oil and gas giant is suing the Commission over its windfall tax.

"What is the EU doing bringing fossil fuel lobbyists into COP28, and particularly Exxon? Its CEO is in open conflict with the science behind sticking to 1.5c, while in Brussels it’s suing the Commission for introducing a windfall tax. Is that really the kind of company that the EU should be keeping at a climate conference? Where’s the red carpet for climate impacted communities or those who had to choose between heating or eating last winter while Exxon made billions? Rather than holding the door open for the world’s worst polluters, just as it does in Brussels, it should be slamming it shut." said Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory, member of the Kick Big Polluters Out campaign.

“It is not shocking that the EU is using its access to shuffle in fossil fuel lobbyists– after all, they are among those most responsible for historic fossil fuel emissions, they headquarter handfuls of the largest polluting corporations, they’re infamous for revolving doors that ensure EU legislation is in the back pocket of Big Polluters, and they are among the greatest obstructors (often being the “good cop” to the US’ “bad cop”) here at the UN climate talks. What is shocking is how little is being done to hold the EU to account for its fair share of climate action, or to ensure that these talks happen free of Big Polluter’s insidious games. The only pathway to phasing out fossil fuels and saving millions of lives is to end the ability of Big Polluters to burn down our only home.”  Rachel Rose Jackson, Corporate Accountability, member of the Kick Big Polluters Out campaign.

The vast majority of fossil lobbyists entered COP28 on 'party overflow' badges. This is the first year they have been made public before the end of COP and the first time that people attending COP28 were required to disclose who they represent thanks to sustained pressure from civil society.

The original EU and Member States data, including the Kick Big Polluters Out classifications, are available on  request.


Kick Big Polluters Out is a coalition of more than 450 organizations across the globe united in demanding an end to the ability of Big Polluters to write the rules of climate action. Find more on the coalition and its demands here.

Contact details:

Pascoe Sabido, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher and campaigner, Signal: +447969665189

Gail Rego, Corporate Europe Observatory communications and press consultant, Signal: +32487202211

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