The presidency of the next UN climate conference (COP28) after 2022, marked by the increasingly serious climate consequences of our dependence on fossil fuels, is to be handed over to a senior executive of a major Emirati oil company on Thursday. United Arabs, Sultan Ahmed al-Jabir. The latter often required a significant increase in investment in oil and gas exploitation.
As COP28 will be held in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023, it is up to the monarchical state to name the person who will chair this important conference for the global fight against the climate crisis, which still faces serious delays. A few years after the signing of the Paris Agreement. In this context, the president of the UN summit has an important role to play in encouraging the 196 delegations to show greater ambition in terms of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, who currently serves as the special envoy for climate change in the United Arab Emirates, is likely to be named the chairman of this fall’s climate talks in Dubai this Thursday.
The latter is also the chairman and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the main national oil company of the country, with an annual turnover of more than 60 billion dollars. The world’s twelfth largest oil company, this multinational specializes in drilling operations, refining and marketing liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, which controls the majority of oil production in the country, currently has a total daily production capacity of more than four million barrels of oil. It also plans to increase that capacity to more than five million barrels per day by 2030.
In defense of oil
Sultan Ahmad al-Jabir is also an ardent supporter of the development of the oil and gas sector. In a speech at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference last November, he advocated increased fossil fuel development over the next few years.
“The world needs all possible solutions. These include oil, gas, solar, wind and nuclear energy, hydrogen and clean energies that have not yet been discovered, commercialized or applied,” he said on the platform of this summit, which brings together the largest fossil fuel companies on the planet.
“Our efforts must be focused on a bold, realistic and pragmatic new path that benefits humanity, the climate and the economy,” added the chairman of Masdar, an Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company. “We have to limit emissions [de gaz à effet de serre], do not increase them. »
The person who will chair the COP28 in 2021 also regretted the lack of investment in the development of new oil and gas fields: “Even if the oil and gas industry fulfills the expected requirements, it will have to invest more than 600 billion dollars annually until 2030. demand. »
Our dependence on fossil fuels is heading for a real climate shipwreck. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency in May 2021, all new fossil fuel exploration and exploitation projects must be abandoned in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and limit global warming to + 1.5°C. Currently, the commitments made by the countries that have signed the Paris Agreement are moving us further towards a warming of at least 2.5°C according to the UN.
Moreover, according to data released by the International Energy Agency in the fall of 2022, global greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels will increase by 300 million tons to 33.8 billion tons in 2022. Last year was also marked by record use of coal, the worst fossil fuel. No less than eight billion tons were burned.
Even before the confirmation of the appointment of the president of COP28, the likely choice of the United Arab Emirates is drawing criticism, especially from Caroline Brouillette, acting CEO of the Canadian Climate Action Network.
“If he chairs COP28, Sultan Al Jabir must resign as Chairman and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, otherwise he will face a gross conflict of interest. For a fossil fuel executive to chair a conference focused on solving the climate crisis would be downright foolish, especially after a year when the destructive effects of the industry’s delay and dilution tactics are more apparent than ever,” he said. Be forced.
Ms. Brouillet points out that the most recent UN climate conference (COP27) failed largely because of the strong presence of fossil fuel industry representatives. “After COP27, which felt like a global gas conference, with a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists and where the biggest missing part of the discussion was to divest from fossil fuels, we can only have COP28 completely taken over by oil. and the gas industry. »
This is not the first time that the host country of the COP has been criticized for its climate. Poland, which is heavily dependent on coal, has already hosted three COPs in 2008, 2013 and 2018. Qatar also hosted COP18 in 2012.