Fossil fuel industry in the spotlight: UN climate change conference begins

Fossil fuel industry in the spotlight: UN climate change conference begins

Developing countries will lead the charge to oust powerful fossil fuel lobbyists at this week’s UN Climate Change Conference, which

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Developing countries will lead the charge to oust powerful fossil fuel lobbyists at this week’s UN Climate Change Conference, which begins in Bonn on Monday.

While hundreds of private sector lobbyists will attend the conference, by far the most powerful non-state group will hail from the fossil fuel industry. This irony has not been lost on the Like-Minded Group of Developing Countries—a group that includes China and India and represents more than half the world’s population. The group will push to restrict the access of fossil fuel representatives from future conferences, a proposal known as the ‘conflict-of-interest’ policy.

But change will be difficult to achieve. The UN body organising the conference has taken a neutral stance on the inclusion of the fossil fuel industry, delegating the decision to governments—many of which face pressure by interest groups at home.

Regardless of the proposal’s success, the spectre of the pro-fossil fuel Trump administration (his top diplomat is ex-CEO of the world’s largest private oil company) will hang over this week’s summit. Speculation is mounting that the US could pull out of the Paris Agreement in the coming weeks.