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Web of influence: How Fossil Fuels and Big Ag influence climate talks

Big Polluters have a variety of strategies in their playbook they deploy to undermine climate action globally. These include investing hundreds of millions of lobby dollars to buy power and control of the political system, bankrolling or overseeing climate talks, or advancing their polluting agenda and influencing climate action through their industry affiliated groups in a variety of spaces.

Each year, business and industry trade groups flood the halls of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). But, as detailed below, many of these groups have deep and extensive ties to the world’s largest polluters, including the fossil fuel industry and Big Ag. Many of these trade groups have members or partners that are among the world’s largest polluting corporations—including the likes of Shell, Exxon, Chevron, Total, Cargill, Nestlé, and Pepsi. In many cases, these industry groups are legally, financially, contractually, or otherwise beholden to advance the profit-driven interests of Big Polluters, even though science clearly shows that fossil fuels must be phased out.

Despite this clear conflict of interest, these groups are allowed to engage in UNFCCC events and activities without any checks or balances in place to ensure they, or their polluting members, don’t unduly influence or undermine climate action. For this reason, implementing an Accountability Framework that protects climate action from being undermined by Big Polluters should be the UNFCCC’s utmost priority, if it there is any chance of keeping global temperature rise to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

This Web of Influence shows how Big Polluters—including the fossil fuel industry and Big Ag—are able to use their ties to industry groups to access and influence the UNFCCC, thus having a heavy hand in shaping the global response to climate change.

Big Polluters at Bonn climate talks happening now: Shell, BP, Nestlé, Bayer, ExxonMobil, Yara International, Drax among registered attendees

According to the provisional list of participants for the UN climate talks happening now in Bonn, the following Big Polluters received access to the negotiations through the following industry groups:


Source: Provisional list of participants, UNFCCC

How are these industry groups tied to Big Polluters?

COP28 had a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists, with more than 2,450 lobbyists attending the talks to presumably advance a fossil-fueled agenda. Beyond granting direct access to Big Polluter lobbyists to be able to attend and presumably influence climate talks, these groups have direct and deep ties to the very corporations that are most responsible for climate change and global emissions. The executive and leadership committees, board members, and official member or partner organizations of these industry groups are also made up of these very same Big Polluter corporations. In other words, the world’s largest polluting corporations play a direct role in shaping the agendas and directives of many of these groups.

Explore the Webs of Influence below to uncover just some of the ties these industry groups have to major fossil fuel and Big Ag corporations.    


Fossil Fuel Web of Influence

*Click here for interactive version*


Source: KBPO


Big Ag Web of Influence

*Click here for interactive version*


Source: Big Ag lobbyist data from DeSmog, additional analysis conducted by KBPO


Paltry climate action track records of major Big Polluter-linked industry groups

Though many of these corporations publicly claim to be in support of climate action, according to InfluenceMap’s LobbyMap, many of them have track records of “real world climate policy engagement activities against science-based and government policy based benchmarks for delivering the goals of the Paris Agreement,” with scores of C+ or worse. InfluenceMap methodology indicates that the lower the score, the greater the opposition to Paris-aligned climate policy."

InfluenceMap Lobby Score of Big Polluters and some of their major industry groups include:



Which major industry groups let in the most fossil fuel industry lobbyists at COP28?

Here are some of the major trade groups that provided the most badges for fossil fuel lobbyists during COP28:


*Note: These figures are based on analysis conducted by Kick Big Polluters Out during COP28. In some cases, an individual could be a lobbyist for both the fossil fuel industry and Big Ag.

Which major industry groups let in the most Big Ag lobbyists at COP28?

Research conducted by DeSmog on Big Ag lobbyist presence at COP28 shows that CropLife International, International Chamber of Commerce, and the International Fertilizer Association are among the prominent names that granted access to the most Big Ag lobbyists:


*Note: These figures are based on methodology and analysis conducted by DeSmog during COP28. In some cases, an individual could be a lobbyist for both the fossil fuel industry and Big Ag.

The meaningful climate action we urgently need cannot take hold until we end the ability of Big Polluters to write those very rules of climate action. 


Photo credit: Shreeshan Venkatesh

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