A minimum of 475 lobbyists advocating for carbon-capture will be present at Cop28.
The Guardian has uncovered that the organizers of Cop28 have allowed 475 lobbyists who focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS) to attend. These technologies have not been proven to effectively reduce global warming, according to climate scientists.
The data was computed by the Centre for Environmental Law (Ciel) and privately shared with the Guardian. It is the initial effort to track the increasing impact of the CCS sector within the UN climate negotiations.
2 as a resource
CCS, or CCUS (which also involves “utilization”), is strongly advocated for at the summit by industries that heavily rely on fossil fuels and other highly polluting practices, as well as by the top greenhouse gas emitting nations. Supporters of CCS claim that these technologies will allow polluters to capture carbon dioxide emissions and store them underground or in the ocean floor, or even utilize the CO2 as a valuable resource.2
during the manufacturing of fuels or fertilizers.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other experts in the field of climate science concur that the most effective way to reduce global warming to around 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is by phasing out the use of oil, gas, and coal. They also believe that relying on untested technologies such as CCUS will only delay necessary action and divert attention from more impactful solutions.
Lili Fuhr, director of Ciel’s program focusing on the fossil fuel economy, expressed that the intense efforts of the fossil fuel industry and their supporters to promote the notion of “capturing” or “managing” carbon emissions in Dubai is a clear indication of their desperation. CCS serves as a crucial lifeline for the fossil fuel industry, but it also serves as their newest excuse and delaying strategy.
“We cannot allow the carbon capture lobbyists to create a major loophole in the energy package at Cop28.”
The scale of oil and gas influence is unprecedented at Cop28, which is being run by the president of the United Arab Emirates’ national oil company, with 2,456 industry-affiliated lobbyists – almost four times higher than the number registered for Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.
The number of representatives from the carbon capture bloc is significantly higher than the official Indigenous representatives, accounting for 50% more. This group also includes several countries that are heavily impacted by climate change, such as Somalia (366), Niger (135), Guinea-Bissau (43), Tonga (79), Eritrea (7), Liberia (197), and Solomon Islands (56).
The main focus of the discussions at Cop28 is the phase-out of fossil fuels, which is also the key topic during the global stocktake to assess progress. Some of the leading producers of fossil fuels, including the US, Canada, Norway, the EU, and Saudi Arabia, are facing criticism for attempting to hinder a clear agreement on the phase-out by advocating for the use of “abated” fossil fuels in the stocktake.
The continuous burning of oil, gas, and coal leads to the production of carbon dioxide.2 or other greenhouse gases being released directly into the atmosphere. There is no agreement on what “abated” means, but in general it refers to burning fossil fuels combined with the capture and permanent storage of an undefined proportion of the greenhouse gases emitted.
At the Cop28 conference, CCUS was highlighted in important discussions and multiple additional events. A group of nations, such as the UAE, Australia, Canada, Egypt, the EU, US, Japan, and Denmark, introduced the “carbon management challenge” on Tuesday, which included government backing for CCUS and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods.
2 would still represent less than 3% of global emissions
However, although these technologies may aid in reducing emissions in industries that are difficult to decarbonize, such as cement and steel, capturing even 1.2 gigatonnes of CO2 would only account for less than 3% of total global emissions.2
The goal set forth by the challenge, although not officially established, only accounts for 3% of the total global emissions expected in 2022.
The Guardian sought comments from the Global CCS Institute and the CCS Association.
In the past, projects involving Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage have consistently failed to meet expectations. Chevron’s Gorgon gas facility in Western Australia, home to the biggest industrial CCUS project globally, fell short of its carbon capture goals by approximately 50% in its first five years. Recent reports from the Guardian revealed that emissions at the facility have increased by 50% this year.
According to critics, the implementation of CCUS and other methods for reducing emissions would not effectively address the issue of 5 million deaths annually that are attributed to air pollution from the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.
According to internal documents from the US House oversight committee’s investigation on climate disinformation, it appears that oil executives are aware of the limitations of CCUS and are considering it as a potential solution to sustain fossil fuels.
2 it captures would be used for enhanced oil recovery.
Earlier in the year, Occidental’s CEO Vicki Hollub, a registered delegate at Cop28, stated at a conference that direct air capture provides the oil industry with the ability to continue operating for the foreseeable future. The company plans to use the captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.2 captured in Texas would be stored underground and used as a sort of carbon credit system for other companies to buy. It touts itself as an example of “net zero oil”, whereby removed CO2
Fluid is inserted into geological structures in order to release natural gas and oil for additional removal.
Rachel Cleetus, the director of climate and energy policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, expressed that there are parties with vested interests in fossil fuels and limited political goals who are intentionally obscuring and weakening the negotiations for the final Cop28 agreement. This is despite the clear evidence provided by science that a phase-out is necessary.
In this crucial decade, CCS/CCUS is incapable of making a significant impact on reducing emissions. The primary responsibility still lies in drastically reducing the use of fossil fuels. There are no alternatives to this essential action.
Out of the approximately 84,000 attendees at Cop28, 475 lobbyists for CCS were found based on the UN’s preliminary list. These lobbyists include representatives from companies involved in carbon capture and storage projects, as listed in the International Energy Agency’s database, as well as other companies and organizations known for supporting these technologies.
Chidhoni, a member of the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice who suffered personal losses due to floods in Zimbabwe, expressed concern over the presence of numerous fossil fuel lobbyists at the event. These lobbyists are promoting ineffective solutions like carbon capture and storage, in an attempt to hinder a timely and just transition away from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, communities most affected by the climate crisis are being silenced and their well-being is being disregarded for the sake of profit.
A representative from the Carbon Capture and Storage Association stated that carbon capture technology will play a major role in achieving net zero emissions, in conjunction with efforts to decrease energy consumption and increase the use of renewable electricity.