June 15, 2023

Whitehouse Applauds UN Effort to Root Out Fossil Fuel Lobbying from Global Climate Summits

UNFCCC announcement comes just weeks after Senator Whitehouse, congressional colleagues, and members of the European parliament sent transatlantic letter demanding greater transparency

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today released the following statement after the United Nations (UN) announced that it will require all delegates attending Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to disclose their affiliation with fossil fuel companies and other corporations:

“The fossil fuel industry’s fingerprints were everywhere at the last COP, the world’s best shot each year to address the global climate crisis that we are running out of time to solve.  After raising this issue repeatedly with UN, U.S., and European climate leaders, I’m pleased to see the UN step up and begin to address this creeping problem by requiring COP delegates to disclose their ties to corporate polluters.  It’s a good first step, and one that the UN should build on by requiring all companies participating in COPs to file audited climate political footprint statements as a ticket to entry.” 

“Currently, corporations hide much of their anti-climate work behind front groups and anonymous elections spending.  Full transparency is necessary to provide an accurate picture of where corporations stand on climate-related issues to help restore public faith in the COP process and achieve the climate action necessary to save our planet from climate catastrophe.”

UN climate officials confirmed today that delegates attending its annual climate summit will be required to disclose their affiliations in an effort to clamp down on undue influence by fossil fuel companies.  Participants will also be asked to provide optional information on their relationship with the government agency or organization that has nominated them, and those declining to do so will be flagged.

According to one analysis, at least 636 lobbyists from the oil and gas industries registered to attend COP27 last year, and many attended under the cover of country delegations. 

Last month, Whitehouse led a letter with 133 members of Congress and the European Parliament to U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Simon Stiell urging the officials to rid COP28 and all future international climate talks of persistent interference from the fossil fuel industry.

Last December after returning from COP27, Whitehouse and Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Edward Markey (D-MA) wrote to Secretary General Guterres and Executive Secretary Stiell calling on the United Nations to require sponsors and participants at future climate conferences to provide audited corporate climate political influencing statements. 

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921