The UNFCCC’s list of provisional participants is released as a record of everyone that has been granted access to COP27. This year’s list was published on the 8th of November on the UNFCCC’s website.
These 33,449 individuals gain access to COP27 by attending in official groups. These groups, called delegations, are divided into government, UN bodies, intergovernmental organisations, non-government organisations, and media – information that is also provided in the list. Each individual delegate can also choose to include additional detail about themselves or who they work for on the list, though this is not a mandatory field.
We believe it is reasonable to assume that anyone who applied to attend COP is attempting to influence the policy debate around climate change. For the purposes of this exercise, we consider a fossil fuel lobbyist to be any individual delegate that can be reasonably assumed to have the objective of influencing the formulation or implementation of policy or legislation in the interests of a fossil fuel company and its shareholders.
If we found that the delegate had self-declared its ties to either a fossil fuel company, an organisation with fossil fuel interests, or any foundation directly associated by ownership or control with a fossil fuel company that would lead us to classify them as a fossil fuel lobbyist in the context of their presence at COP27.
An anonymised list of the 636 fossil fuel lobbyists we found in the provisional list can be viewed here.
To analyse the UNFCCC’s delegates list as quickly as possible, our
team used a combination of scripted automation and manual
classification. After scraping the list, we used a script to compare
this year’s list of delegates against three other lists of potential
attendees who we would qualify as fossil fuel lobbyists, prepared in the
months leading up to COP. Once we completed this automated cross-check,
our team then verified the entire list line by line – first, by
checking whether the auto-populated suggested classifications were
accurate, and then by classifying the delegates for whom we did not get
any automatic crossmatch results.
In determining whether a delegate has any ties that would qualify them as a fossil fuel lobbyist, we only considered the information provided in the UNFCCC’s list. This includes both the delegation through which the individual is attending COP, and any further affiliation the delegate opted to disclose. If someone did not choose to explicitly state an affiliation to a fossil fuel company or fossil fuel-affiliated organisation in their application to be a delegate at this year’s COP, we were unable to classify them as a fossil fuel lobbyist.
All of our decisions to classify a delegate as a fossil fuel lobbyist were justified using open sources that are easily verifiable, including the websites of companies and trade groups, lobbying registers, and media reports by credible news outlets. We are also grateful for the opportunity to consult data shared by InfluenceMap, an independent think tank producing data-driven analysis on how business and finance are impacting the climate crisis.
The strict nature of our methodology results in a conservative estimate rather than a complete figure. With additional time and resources, we would no doubt uncover many more lobbyists in attendance at the COP. We do not publish the names of any individual delegates, only the organisations with whom they are affiliated.
We consider a fossil fuel company to be any company that has significant business activities in the exploration, extraction, refining, trading, specialised transportation of fossil fuels or sale of electricity derived from them.
A company has significant business activities in fossil fuels if it publicly declares that it is involved commercially in the handling of a fossil fuel (exploration, extraction, refining, trading, processing, distribution to consumers) OR who promotes publicly that is has significant investments in such companies.
We would consider a foundation directly associated by ownership or control with a fossil fuel company as a fossil fuel foundation.
organisation representing fossil fuel interests is a trade association
or other organisation that represents the interests of a fossil fuel
company’s management and/or shareholders. To qualify, it must have
significant involvement of fossil fuel companies or their senior
employees in their governance structure (either board of directors or
corporate members) OR promote publicly that its purpose is to represent a
fossil fuel industry OR have a recent track record of lobbying for
pro-fossil fuel positions. This includes UNFCCC classified
“international governmental organisations” that have a focus on
promoting the fossil fuel industries of its member countries.