Oil and gas groups were yesterday accused of seeking to influence climate talks in Madrid by paying millions in sponsorship and sending dozens of lobbyists to delay what scientists say is a necessary and rapid cut in fossil fuel use.
A day after tens of thousands marched in the Spanish capital demanding climate action, seven environmental groups raised concerns to AFP over the role of fossil fuel representatives at the COP25 summit.
Spanish energy giants Endesa and Iberdrola stepped in to sponsor the conference, which brings together more than 20,000 negotiators, scientists, NGOs and journalists from around the world.
AFP has been told that each company paid 2 million euros to be COP25 “Platinum” sponsors, affording them prominent branding and trade stalls at the event.
Endesa is one of Spain’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, producing just over 60 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent last year alone. Iberdrola produced 24.6 million tonnes in 2018.
“Bankrolling the global climate negotiations is a classic trick from the polluter’s playbook,” said Jean Su, energy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Environmental groups including Oil Change International, Corporate Europe Observatory, the Observatorio de Multinacionales en America Latina, and Power Shift Africa all told AFP they considered oil and gas presence at COP25 as unacceptable.
“Our hard work and determination is easily overpowered by the vast resources of the biggest polluting corporations,” said Sarah Dobson, from the UK Youth Climate Coalition.
“These companies are destroying our planet and our right to fair climate negotiations free from their influence.”