Following the conclusion of COP27 on Sunday (20 November) Molly Scott Cato, former Green MEP and now Professor of Economics at the University of Roehampton, believes the presence of fossil fuel lobbyists prevented the ambitious agreement the world needs to starve the growing dangers posed by the climate crisis:
“The biggest second ‘country’ at COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh wasn’t a nation state – it was the fossil fuel industry. They had more than 600 lobbyists, far more than any other interest or country. As a result we’ve ended up with a paper tiger agreement. A conference focused heavily on phrases such as ‘climate justice’ and ‘climate reparations’ ended up creating a fund with no money in it.
“We now need countries who grew rich by burning fossil fuels to make realistic contributions to repair the damage their past actions have inflicted on low-income countries across the world. As the largest colonial power, the UK could and should give a lead here.
“Much more disappointing was the failure to advance the targets for CO2 emissions reductions and the lack of action on removing fossil fuels from the global economy. Perhaps this was an inevitable consequence of a COP held in the Middle East and, given that next year’s COP will be held in oil-dependent UAE, the signs are not hopeful.
“The world is still being held hostage by fossil fuel’s interests and one important principle for future COPs is that fossil fuel lobbyists should be banished from the formal negotiations. While petro-states have a right to defend their economic interests, however destructive, those who work purely in the interests of shareholders in fossil fuels companies have no right to hold the world and our shared climate to ransom and should be prohibited from future COPs.”