First Minister Humza Yousaf has been challenged to disclose whether he has met any fossil fuel company lobbyists whilst at the crunch UN climate talks COP28.

Climate campaigners have demanded answers from the First Minister following reports that more than 2,400 fossil fuel company lobbyists are in attendance at the Dubai talks - and the Scottish Government holding a reputation for holding meetings with oil companies at previous COPs.

The world’s largest coalition of climate NGOs, Climate Action Network, has warned that there are more fossil fuel lobbyists than the delegates from the 10 countries most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis at COP28.

The organisation also stressed that there are more than seven times the number of fossil fuel lobbyists than official indigenous representatives at the summit.

Read more: Analysis: Stuttering targets cloud Scottish Government COP28 success

Fossil fuels have threatened to overshadow the summit, with COP28 president Al Jaber coming under fire for his role as head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and speculation he wanted to use his position to discuss oil deals.

Mr Yousaf has been urged to make clear that he has not met with fossil fuels executives as he attempts to place Scotland as a “world leader” in climate action.

It comes after the First Minister insisted yesterday that an agreement being struck at COP28 to phase out fossil fuels “has to happen”.

A spokesperson for the First Minister did not confirm if meetings with fossil fuel companies had been held but said "the people of Scotland would expect the First Minister to engage constructively with major employers and industries in Scotland".

Scottish Government chiefs have met with oil companies at previous UN climate conferences including then Finance Secretary Kate Forbes meeting oil giant Equinor at Glasgow COP26, while Nicola Sturgeon's special advisor Liz Lloyd met the boss of Scotland's biggest polluter SSE in Sharm El-Sheik talks in 2022.

The Scottish Government is currently considering approving SSE and Equinor’s controversial plan to build a new a gas-fired power station in Peterhead.

Read more: COP28: Yousaf urged to harness 'global leadership' for ecocide success

While the COP26 summit was taking place in Glasgow two years ago, the Scottish Government held a banquet for representatives of the hydrogen industry at Edinburgh Castle.

Oil industry representatives David Bunch of Shell, Louise Plutt of BP and David Bryson of Uniper attended and met with MSPs including Ms Sturgeon and then trade minister Ivan McKee.

The First Minister has been at the talks since November 30, sharing selected details of his itinerary with the media and posting images of meeting people on his social media including with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Steill, Al Gore and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate and energy campaigner Caroline Rance, said: “Oil companies are driving the climate breakdown we are witnessing around the world, so it is a scandalous conflict of interest for thousands of their lobbyists to be at these critical climate talks.

“The First Minister needs to come clean about whether he or his officials have met with any fossil fuel lobbyists during this COP. These companies cynically exploit the opportunity of the climate talks to whisper in the ear of decision makers and delay much needed action to transition to a safe renewable-powered energy system.

Read more: SNP-Green Government poised to delay climate change plan

“The COP talks are a critical forum for building international consensus on climate action, but appointing an oil executive as COP President threatens the legitimacy of the process and undermines efforts to secure an agreement on fossil fuel phase out.

“It is important for Scotland's First Minister to be at the talks and hear directly from people already enduring the impacts of climate breakdown, but he can't also be cosying up to those companies who are hellbent on worsening the climate crisis.

“Big polluters must be kicked out of politics once and for all.”

The questions come as Mr Yousaf renewed calls for fossil fuels to be phased out.

Speaking at COP28 yesterday, the First Minister said: “I hope that this COP is the one that agrees to the phasing out of fossil fuels through a just transition to net zero. That has to happen.

“We all know what the data is screaming out and telling us. We know what the planet is telling us.

Read more: Revealed: SNP ministers who have met with oil giant behind Rosebank

“You can’t ignore wildfires, flooding, drought that is happening on our doorsteps in every country.

“I do hope that COP28 comes to an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels through a just transition to net zero.”

The Herald has asked the Scottish Government if the First Minister or any other representatives have met fossil fuel lobbyists at COP28.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister has been clear that any further extraction and use of fossil fuels must be consistent with Scotland’s climate obligations and Just Transition commitments.

“Our focus is on reducing emissions, meeting our energy security needs and delivering affordable energy supplies, whilst ensuring a just transition for our oil and gas workforce to a renewables and net zero future.

“As part of our support for this transition, the people of Scotland would expect the First Minister to engage constructively with major employers and industries in Scotland, as he does with all sectors of society.”