COP28: Whistleblowers Against The Lobbies

Whistleblowing led to two investigations on climate and the COP28 in the past week. The investigations show major conflicts of interest at the occasion of the COP28 summit starting today.

Both the BBC and AFP published groundbreaking investigations this month, based on whistleblowers’ disclosures showing conflicts of interest between the COP’s presidency and big oil & gas lobbies at the approach of the COP28 summit, starting today. 

The first article was published on November 7th by France 24 with AFP, claiming McKinsey & Company, the world’s leading management consulting firm, used its position as a key advisor to push the interests of the oil and gas industries. Mckinsey’s clients comprise fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil and Aramco. 

Leaked documents seen by AFP show that McKinsey submitted biased future energy scenarios to the COP28 presidency: an “energy transition narrative” that only reduces oil use by 50 percent by 2050 and calls for trillions in new oil and gas investment annually until then.

That scenario denies scientific consensus on global warming and its causes, as well as recommendations for climate change attenuation. It was brought to light to the public thanks to a whistleblower.

But this revelation is unlikely to change the mindset of Dr Sultan al-Jaber, COP28’s president and head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

The BBC published an investigation on the 27th of November showing how the United Arab Emirates used its role as host of the COP28 to organise business talks and fossil fuel deals.

According to the BBC, whistleblower’s documents include briefing notes and talking points ahead of meetings with 27 governments. The meetings were supposed to be hosted by Dr Sultan al-Jaber, whose role as president of this COP is supposedly to encourage ambition in the countries’ efforts to fight climate change.

NGOs and activists repeatedly denounced conflicts of interest in making Dubai the host of the 28th annual United Nations climate meeting. This week’s publications, brought to public attention by whistleblowers, only reinforce the common sentiment that climate change is not taken seriously by political leaders around the world, many of whom seem to be led chiefly by profit-making.

These stories demonstrate how crucial whistleblowing is to ensure transparency: by putting the spotlight on such abuses, political and economic leaders’ responsibilities in climate change can be questioned. 

Though we are under no illusion: exposing these abuses is a long, dangerous and risky road. Whistleblowers threaten powerful and opaque interests. Because they put themselves and their loved ones on the line, these public defenders need support and protection against retaliation. This is why we created Climate Whistleblowers (CW).

CW is a nongovernmental organisation dedicated to serving as a shield for these climate heroes. We’re lawyers, journalists, and activists. As founders of CW, we’re using our expertise to protect climate whistleblowers and ensure their disclosures make the greatest possible impact.

Even a single act of whistleblowing can make all the difference. With specialist support, we believe a new generation of climate whistleblowers can catalyse the change the world so desperately needs.

Read More

McKinsey & Company pushes fossil fuel interests as advisor to UN climate talks, whistleblowers say, France 24 (07/11/2023)

COP28: UAE planned to use climate talks to make oil deals, BBC (27/11/2023)

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