CAMPAIGNERS have called on the Scottish Government to put pressure on UK ministers to stop lobbyists from fossil fuel companies taking a place at the negotiating table during COP26.

Previous summits have been partly bankrolled by sponsorship deals with energy companies. In Madrid this year they included Iberdrola, a ­global power utility with gas operations around the world, and Endesa, which operates coal, oil and gas power plants.

In 2018 the EU’s largest producer of high-quality coking coal was among several coal-sector companies the COP24 in Poland partnered with. Campaigners fear their influence will negatively affect negotiations.

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Company representatives are often invited by governments to join their delegation and allowed to hold side events during the summit. According to the Intercept investigations website, during COP24 Shell Oil’s chief climate change adviser claimed to have helped write the Paris agreement. “We put together a straw proposal,” he reportedly said. “Many of the elements of that straw proposal appear in the Paris agreement.”

Stuart McWilliam, climate change campaign manager at Global ­Witness, said: “As one of the world’s most influential and profitable industries, fossil fuel lobbyists are incredibly powerful in the COP process. They have immense influence over governments’ negotiating positions and ­national policies. They are allowed a seat at the table and have used this to thwart progress to pursue their own vested interest against the public good. The UN climate change process should ban the fossil fuel industry, the same way the World Health Organisation has excluded the tobacco industry.

“Although the Scottish ­Government should call for the oil and gas ­lobbyists to be banned, it is more likely they will be welcoming them with open arms, given its overwhelming support for the policy of extracting as much oil and gas from UK waters as possible.”

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Caroline Rance, climate and energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Often inside the negotiating room we will have some of the most polluting governments allowing fossil fuel companies to be in the space. We would like to see Glasgow become a fossil fuel-free COP.”

However, Edinburgh University carbon scientist Professor David Reay said that although lobbying was inevitable the issue was more nuanced. “Many energy firms are now pushing for more ambition rather than ­trying to hold things back,” he added. “Some heavily oil-dependent nations may still be obstructive in Glasgow, but if China, the US and the EU can all find common ground then COP26 can still be a world changer.”

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: “The domestic oil and gas industry and supply chain can play a positive role in supporting the low carbon transition. We are committed to achieving a carbon-neutral economy and managing that transition in a way that is fair for all.”