Energy & Environment

UAE puts oil CEO in charge of global climate conference

In this Nov. 11, 2019 file photo, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the Emirati Minister of State and the CEO of Abu Dhabi’s state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., attends the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

The United Arab Emirates, which is hosting next year’s global climate summit, has put the head of the country’s oil company in charge of the event. 

The UAE announced on Thursday that Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, will serve as president of the United Nations COP28 conference.

Al Jaber will develop the conference’s agenda, alongside Simon Stiell of the United Nations and the president of last year’s conference, Sameh Shoukry.

Climate advocates expressed alarm at the fact that the major summit will be led by an oil executive, given that fossil fuels are the main driver of climate change. 

“Putting an oil executive in charge of climate talks is the height of hypocrisy, and a slap in the face to all those suffering from fossil-fueled climate harms around the world,” said Jean Su, Energy Justice program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a written statement. 

“The UAE needs to replace Al Jaber immediately, or at the very least make him relinquish his role as an active oil company profiteer. We have no time for UAE to put petrostate oil promotion where climate ambition should be,” she said.

Al Jaber, meanwhile, pledged in a written statement to “bring a pragmatic, realistic and solutions-oriented approach that delivers transformative progress for the climate.”

Every year, global leaders meet in an effort to take action on climate change. At COP21 in 2015, 196 countries adopted the treaty known as the Paris Agreement. 

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