Social and environmental organizations have sent a letter to Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, protesting the appointment of Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber as president of the next climate summit (COP28) to be held in the United Arab Emirates in December. The sultan is chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and has been appointed to lead the next round of global climate negotiations, hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
More than 450 organizations of youth, women, trade unions and those in favor of climate justice denounce in their letter that this appointment represents “a threat to the legitimacy and effectiveness of COP28”. If we have any hope of tackling the climate crisis, “all climate conferences must be kept away from the influence of the fossil fuel industry,” they complain.
The letter has also been sent to Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and to all governments participating in the United Nations Climate Change Convention.
The Adnoc company is the twelfth largest oil producer in the world. It ranks 14th on the list of companies responsible for a third of carbon emissions. It is also ranked number 2 in the ranking of companies in terms of oil and gas expansion plans with new fields and wells.
Incompatible with the weather limit
These plans are totally incompatible with the declarations of the International Energy Agency, which makes it clear that there can be no new oil and gas exploitation if you really want to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5ºC, they recall.
All of them argue that “this sector has record profits while fueling the climate crisis”. These groups view this election as very negative, taking into account that “we are in the midst of an increasingly serious climate crisis, in which millions of lives and ecosystems they are in danger”. All this “is an example of the influence they continue to have” the large companies that generate CO2.
Among the signatory NGOs are Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Global Witness, Extinction Rebellion, Ecologistas en Acción, CatholicNetwork US, Parents For Climate – Israel, Climate Action Network or the Instituto Internacional de Educaçao do Brasil
“It also points to a deeper problem: that fossil fuel interests have invaded the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and threaten its legitimacy.”
The influence of these companies grows more and more. At COP27, more than 630 lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry signed up to attend the climate negotiations. The United Arab Emirates, which is now hosting COP28, had more lobbyists in its delegation than any other country.
The signatory organizations demand that the COP presidencies be free of all influence from fossil fuel companies, in order to advance the necessary progressive and fair elimination of fossil fuels.
Therefore, they demand that these large corporations not participate in climate legislation, so that they do not manage to weaken the response to climate change. “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must urgently establish a regulatory framework that includes a policy that ends the conflict of interest once and for all,” they point out.
Likewise, they demand that these companies do not finance climate action. “Greenwashing and the purchase of their responsibility in a crisis that they have caused should not be allowed,” they say.
While these big companies can participate in climate summits, “governments make it increasingly difficult for NGOs and climate justice movements to be heard.”