Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber is also Emirati Minister of Industry, head of oil giant ADNOC and special envoy for climate change.
The CEO of the United Arab Emirates oil company, host country of the UN climate conference this year, will chair COP28, authorities announced on Thursday. The Emirati Minister of Industry, head of oil giant ADNOC and special envoy for climate change, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, has been named “President-designate for the 28th Conference of Parties (COP 28)“Said a statement from the official WAM news agency.
“We will bring a pragmatic, realistic and solution-oriented approach“, said Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, quoted in the press release. “Climate action is a huge economic opportunity for investing in sustainable growth. Funding is key“, he added. The Emirati minister has been leading the national oil company since 2016 but also Masdar, the Emirati renewable energy company. His double hat, however, earned him criticism from environmental activists.
“The appointment of Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber as President of COP28, while serving as CEO of Abu Dhabi’s national oil company constitutes an outrageous conflict of interest“, reacted Harjeet Singh, of the organization Climate Action Network International. “The constant threat of fossil fuel lobbyists at the UN climate negotiations has always weakened the results of the climate conference, but this situation is reaching another dangerous and unprecedented level.“, he added.
Lobbyists from the oil and gas sector came out in force at COP27 in November in Egypt, with numbers up more than 25% from the previous COP in Glasgow, according to the associations. The largest contingent came from the United Arab Emirates, followed by Russia. This edition allowed the adoption of a resolution on the compensation of the poorest countries for the damage caused by climate change. But it has failed to advance the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, to maintain the objective of limiting global warming. And the issue of less use of fossil fuels was barely mentioned in the texts.
The United Arab Emirates, which are among the world’s leading oil exporters, are advocating for a gradual exit from hydrocarbons, and have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The desert country of 10 million inhabitants, 90% of whom are expatriates, has known, thanks to oil, a dazzling growth since the 1970s, but its economy has gradually diversified. “Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require significant emissions reductions, a pragmatic, practical and realistic approach to energy transition and increased support for emerging economies“says the press release published Thursday, in reference to the objective set at previous COP summits.
Global warming is a particularly important subject for the Gulf countries where temperatures sometimes approach 50 degrees in summer. According to a study published in 2021, some regions could become unlivable by the end of the century. COP28 will be held in Dubai in November and December.
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