Russian oligarchs and executives of several companies under international sanctions are among the lobbyists currently attending Cop27 in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Participants in the crucial climate talks include billionaire and former aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who is under British sanctions, and billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, the former head of Russian fertilizer company EuroChem, which has been subject to individual sanctions by the European Union that it disputedcalling them “absurd and absurd”.
The Gas The giant Gazprom sent six delegates to the talks, alongside the director general of Sberbank. Both are under US and European sanctions. Representatives from oil company Lukoil, mining company Severstal and Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works are also present, all under US sanctions.
The oil and gas company Tatneft, currently sanctioned by the EU, has sent three lobbyists to the climate talks, according to data compiled by the organizations Corporate Accountability, Global Witness and Corporate Europe Observatory. The Russian delegation includes metallurgical companies Severstal and NLMK Group, part of an industry that has faced EU sanctions.
The Cop27 the climate talks have been colored largely by debates over how the world should adapt to a shortage of Russian gas supplies. This follows months of fears in Europe over energy shortages stemming from Moscow’s decision to abruptly cut off gas supplies to Europe, in response to international sanctions due to the invasion of the Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin in February.
As delegates gathered in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, environmental groups, scientists and representatives of countries in the global South expressed fears that Europe’s energy crisis could be used as a pretext to continue the gas exploration in Africa, rather than as an encouragement to increase renewable energy. energy resources in the world.
The presence of industry lobbyists and oil and gas industry executives, including six representatives of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a pressure group, suggests that Russia is using the crucial climate negotiations to stimulate business.
It also suggests that the Russian delegation may seek to promote unauthorized industries, such as certain metals and fertilizers, which are linked to Russia’s impact on the world’s food supply and the rising cost of food products, in particular in the south of the world.
Russia is the world fourth greenhouse gas emitter and third oil supplier, behind the United States and Saudi Arabia, with a troubled environmental record that includes a decade of drilling in the Arctic for new fossil fuel supplies as permafrost melts under rising global temperatures.
Critics have argued that Russia had been looking for ways to profit from the climate crisis, especially in terms of drilling in the Arctic. Putin’s climate envoy Ruslan Edelgeriev told the COP27 talks that “if there had been no sanctions, restrictions or discriminatory approaches, the Russian Federation could have achieved neutrality carbon sooner”.
Deripaska was indicted by American justice in September for circumventing sanctions related to his company Basic Element. According to the Interfax news agency, he gave up his majority stake in the company EN+, which sent three representatives to Sharm el-Sheikh, in 2019 as part of an agreement with the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Treasury .
Dr Oleksiy Ryabchyn, Ukrainian member of the delegation to Cop27, said it was “ridiculous to know that Russian oligarchs are sneaking through the halls. It is ridiculous that they can travel freely. For me, if these oligarchs are not able to stop this bloody war, then they should not be [at Cop]. Ukrainian NGOs have tried to find these Russians to organize a demonstration, but they are hiding in offices and are afraid to walk freely in the corridor. We see that Russia is in complete isolation at this conference.
The wealth of Melnichenko and representatives of his former company Eurochem is connected with the production of vital Russian fertilizers. In August, the head of EuroChem praised the US Treasury Department’s global sanctions division for their decision not to sanction them, saying it meant they were “recognized as a crucial player in the global food supply”. UN chief António Guterres said he would work with officials to ensure the global supply of Russian fertilizers.
Samir Brikho, Executive Chairman of EuroChem, said“Thousands of farmers around the world depend on us to deliver the timely nutrients they need to get the most out of their land, so they can feed their communities.”
Ukrainian and Western officials have accused Russia of using food as a weapon since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which sparked a global spike in food prices. Russia has used the surge to exert pressure on Western countries supporting Ukraine, and as leverage on nations in the global south, including the COP27 host nation, Egypt.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the UN in May this “The food supply of millions of Ukrainians and millions of others around the world has literally been taken hostage by the Russian military.”