Several members of the Climate team were struck by the large size and flashiness of stands dedicated to oil and gas at last year’s COP27. Others have taken note, too, but the AP team wanted to get beyond the anecdotes to truly measure the presence and influence of fossil fuel industries.
Climate data journalist Mary Katherine Wildeman developed a methodology to cross reference, identify and categorize more than 24,000 participants at last year’s summit. Then, Climate reporter Seth Borenstein, Climate news editor Dana Beltaji and others on the Climate team worked to identify and verify people connected to fossil fuels.
The conclusions were striking: Nearly 400 people from fossil fuels industries attended the summit that focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Combined into a single group, it represented the third-largest delegation at COP27.
AP’s Climate team also found that many participated in ways that arguably were not transparent. For example, Switzerland-based energy trade Mercuria Energy sent a delegation as members for the Brazilian government, the International Chamber of Commerce and a nonprofit.
The analysis led to other stories from AP’s climate team, including water reporter Suman Naishadham and video journalist Victor Caivano’s package about Canada’s commitments to climate. In a separate story, Wildeman, Climate editor Doug Glass and Climate news director Peter Prengaman pored over documents to find that despite lots of talk, oil and gas companies are not moving toward a transition to green energy.
Climate video editor Teresa de Miguel and Climate photo editor Alyssa Goodman developed creative visual plans for all three stories to elevate the data and storytelling.
For work that resulted in three exclusive stories ahead of COP28, the team of Wildeman, Borenstein, Naishadham, Caivano, Beltaji, de Miguel and Glass win Best of the Week — First Winner.