N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
The UAE (United Arab Emirates) will host the next UN climate conference, COP28. Sultan Ahmed AL Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has been chosen to lead the conference.
‘Greenpeace is deeply alarmed at the appointment of an oil company CEO to lead the global climate negotiations’, said Tracey Carty of Greenpeace International. ‘This sets a dangerous precedent. COP28 needs to conclude with an uncompromised commitment to a just phase out of all fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas’. Tasneem Essop of Climate Action Network said: ‘It will be a tantamount to a full-scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company and its associated fossil fuel lobbyists’.
The UAE is also a bizarre choice by the UN. The country has the fourth largest per capita carbon footprint behind Qatar, Bahrein and Kuwait. And it is the seventh largest oil producer in the world. The Climate Action Tracker rates UAE’s green action as ‘highly insufficient’. The country updated its target under the Paris Agreement at COP27, it ‘is also planning for a significant increase in fossil fuel production, which is not consistent with limiting warming to 1.5C.’
But EU Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview, that Sheik Al Jaber is ‘ideally placed to play a leading role in the huge, huge (energy-)transition’. He added: ‘I think people might be focusing too much on his role of CEO of an oil company.’ The interview took place during the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) assembly, in Abu Dhabi.