United Arab Emirates may appoint an oil company CEO to chair COP 28 – Liberation
If the fire extinguisher may seem like a myth, the ultra-polluting United Arab Emirates is on its way to combating climate change. According to the Global Strategic Communications Council, a collaborative network of climate, energy and nature experts and newsletter Greenhe is Sultan al-Jabir, CEO of the Emirati national oil company, whom the Gulf state is about to appoint as head of the upcoming COP 28.
From November 30 to December 12, 2023, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, will host the main annual meeting of nations aiming to set global climate goals. An opportunity for this small country of ten million people to hold the light for two weeks by welcoming about a hundred heads of state and thousands of experts who came to talk about the climate.
The problem: the country is far from being a good student in the fight against climate change. It is one of the top five per capita CO2 emitters on the planet (20.4 tons per year and per person). It is ahead of Qatar (32.6 tonnes), Kuwait (24.5) or Brunei (23.7), but is far short of the two tonnes per capita greenhouse gas emissions target needed to achieve carbon neutrality. By comparison, the French emit 4.5 tons of CO2 per capita and on average per year, which is already too high for climate goals.
The United Arab Emirates has certainly tried to shed its image as a giant polluter by aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050, trying to be seen as the most climate-proactive country in the Gulf. But the state is still largely oil and gas producing and part “From a group of Arab countries represented by Saudi Arabia that has a reputation for obstructing negotiations,” As explained in He was released Aurore Mathieu, ‘international policy’ manager at the Climate Action Network (RAC) in November.
The United Arab Emirates in particular is pleading for technological solutions such as the absorption and storage of CO2 by factories rather than real emissions reductions at the source. from “wrong solutions” representing “Real threat to push back climate action”, Aurore Mathieu analyzed. It is not surprising that they appointed an oil expert who swears by innovation to head the COP. A member of the Emirati government for a decade, Sultan al-Jabir, 49, has the ideal profile: he is both minister of industry and technological development, CEO and special envoy of Adnoc, the Emirati’s national oil company. climate country at the UN for two years.
600 billion per year for oil
His speeches show a huge permanent gap between the economic interests that oil represents for his country and the company he runs, and his demonstrated or real will to fight climate change. Al-Jabir at the opening of the annual Apidec oil conference in 2021 “pragmatism”, he insists “Invest $600 billion annually in oil by 2030 to meet expected global demand.” “Yes, renewable energies are developing rapidly. But gas and oil remain the biggest energies in the energy mix and will be for decades. The future is coming, but it’s not here yet. We must proceed with pragmatism. You just can’t take apart today’s system” then assured.
Knowing that he is in a difficult situation, he explained that his country prefers technological investments, for example, the production of barrels of oil. “Among the lowest carbon emissions in the world”. At the same event in 2022, he gave more or less the same speech: “You have to be realistic and pragmatic and try to benefit humanity, the climate and of course the economy.” Hardly compatible instructions that Sultan al-Jabir will try to exist in one place at the end of the year.
The host country of the COP has the opportunity to define the priorities it wants to give to the event according to its own sensitivities and the sensitivities of their countries (focus on local communities, just climate change, adaptation solutions, etc.). However, during the negotiation sessions between the delegations of all countries, it has no more weight. It cannot refuse the accreditation of foreign civil society activists to the event. Therefore, some diversity is always present and audible in COPs.