There is a common lament echoing through the halls of Expo City Dubai, the 400-hectare conference venue where the COP28 climate conference is being held: The event feels more like a slick trade show than an environmental summit.

About 100,000 attendees — nearly three times those who attended COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, two years ago — are milling through the venue. Fossil fuel companies have more than 2,000 representatives attending — including Sultan Al Jaber, the president of the conference as well as the chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned petroleum business. Lavish provision of food, drink, events and golf buggies to ferry delegates around the vast site make it feel as much like an industry conference in Las Vegas as a sobering reckoning with environmental catastrophe.

Climate activism, meet capitalism. You two should get to know each other better.