The UAE’s COP28 finesse

Summary: with the appointment of the boss of the UAE’s national oil company to head up COP28, critics say it’s a sell out to big oil interests while others argue the choice of Sultan al-Jaber is a shrewd and positive move.

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  1. Further to our 16 January newsletter the Editor notes the comments of Al Gore on the appointment of the ADNOC CEO Sultan al-Jaber as president of COP28 which takes place in Dubai 30 November to 12 December. The former US vice president was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 17 January.

    Now we have the COP process, OK. What do I say to these young activists that I train around the world when they come to me and they say ‘are you OK with putting the CEO of one of the largest oil companies in the world in as president of COP? Is that really OK?’ Well it’s not whether he is a nice guy or not or whether he is intelligent. The appearance of a conflict of interest undermines confidence at a time when climate activists around the world have come to the conclusion that the people in authority are not doing their jobs….We cannot let the oil companies and the gas companies and the petro-states tell us what is permissible. In the last COP (6 -20 November, Sharm el-Sheikh) we were not allowed to even discuss scaling down oil and gas. A lot of the NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) were not even called for. Are we going to be able to discuss scaling down in the next COP? Or is putting the oil industry in charge of COP not going to tell young people around the world ‘we’ve just decided not even to discuss it anymore.’
    (In the US) every piece of pro-climate legislation at the national, the (state) and the municipal level, the oil and gas and the coal industries they come in and fight tooth and nail and they use their legacy network of political influence and wealth to stop progress. The rest of us have to reform these international institutions so that the people of the world, including young people, can say we are now in charge of our destiny. We are going to stop using the sky as an open sewer. We are going to give people hope. And remember political will is itself a renewable resource.

    Al Gore’s full presentation is available here.

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