Far more fossil fuel employees present at UN climate talks in Dubai than year before, report finds

Far more fossil fuel employees present at UN climate talks in Dubai than year before, report finds

The companies represented say they should be at the climate talks as they are responsible for the bulk of fossil fuel emissions

At least 1,300 employees of organizations representing fossil fuel interests registered to attend this year’s United Nations climate talks in Dubai, more than three times the number found in an Associated Press analysis of last year’s talks, as new rules took effect requiring attendees to disclose their employment.

Aside from the new disclosure rules, the figure may have been boosted by a surge in attendance as Earth staggered through a year of record heat and devastating extreme weather attributed to climate change — conference registrations are nearly double that of last year’s talks. The United Nations body responsible for running the conference also released the details of far more attendees than in past years, including people not considered part of official state delegations.

The hundreds of fossil fuel-connected people make up just a tiny share of the 90,000 people who registered to attend the climate summit known as COP28. But environmentalists have repeatedly questioned their presence at an event where meaningful negotiations have to take aim at the heart of their businesses.

Bob Deans, director of strategic engagement for the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council, said his group is hoping this year’s talks are the point where oil and gas “might begin to shift from being the biggest part of the climate problem to finally being part of the fix.”

“The industry needs to turn away from a business model that relies on destroying the planet,” said Deans, whose own group registered nearly two dozen people to attend. “That business model needs to change. Dubai must be the starting point.”

The companies represented by the 1,300-plus employees make up a big part of global emissions — which is also why they should have a place at the conference, they said.

Read more: nbcboston.com

Photo: nbcboston.com

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