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Is COP27 becoming a ‘fossil fuel trade show’? Oil and gas industry presence looms over U.N. climate talks.

As negotiations continue, the industry’s presence and continued expansion are unavoidable.

Even still, the talks playing host to a fossil fuel revival was likely not on anyone’s bingo card.

Negotiations toward a new global climate agreement continue this week, focused in theory on making bigger cuts and on securing massive amounts of funding for developing countries to address the impacts of warming, but the presence of the fossil fuel industry has been inescapable. The industry has increased its lobbying presence, there are whispers that the eventual diplomatic agreements will fail to even mention coal and oil and gas, and reports proliferate on the energy sources’ continued global expansion.

“This is something different,” Tong said. “And it is concerning.”

Muted expectations

Before the world descended on this small resort city on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, there was some sense that COP27 might not improve the climate outlook all that much.

Add to this the fact that the meeting’s host country, Egypt, boasts oil and petroleum products as its most important exports, and one could say the stage was set.

An oily presence

She also called out the climate talks’ host country: “Egypt is actually also a hot spot for oil and gas exploration,” Schuecking said. “There are currently 55 companies prospecting for new oil and gas finds in Egypt alone.”

Reasons for hope

Though the fossil fuel industry has made its presence known at COP27, hopes are still high that negotiators will make real progress at the talks.

The controversy over fossil fuel participation is “overshadowing some of the real progress that is happening in the negotiations and around the negotiations,” Tong told Grid.

“And those are real breakthroughs happening,” Tong said. “We have to make sure that oil and gas lobbyists don’t stop that.”

The Global Witness report on fossil fuel lobbyist presence here found the United Arab Emirates delegation included 70 people connected to oil and gas production. COP28 will take place in Dubai.

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