The pinnacle of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned oil firm has been appointed president of this 12 months’s UN local weather summit by host nation the United Arab Emirates, prompting concern amongst local weather advocates that the transfer may stymie efforts to cut back fossil gasoline consumption.
The UAE stated on Thursday that Sultan al-Jaber, chief govt of Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm, would tackle the pivotal position for the 2 week COP28 summit to be held in Dubai from the top of November.
The appointment, which provoked a backlash from inexperienced teams, comes after Egypt, host of final 12 months’s COP occasion, invited oil and gas companies to participate within the official programme for the primary time.
COP27 in Egypt resulted in disappointment for a lot of, as fossil gasoline producing nations together with Saudi Arabia blocked a push by others, notably the US and EU, to incorporate a promise to section down all fossil fuels within the ultimate deal.
UAE officers pointed to Jaber’s pivotal position in guiding the nation’s early adoption of renewable vitality, a part of a broader diversification course of to cut back the economic system’s dependence on oil revenues. In 2006, he launched Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s clear vitality firm that’s on observe to develop into the second-largest renewable investor on this planet by 2030.
The Adnoc chief, one of many UAE’s most influential energy brokers, has additionally served because the oil-rich Gulf state’s particular envoy for local weather change over two phrases, from 2010 to 2016 and from 2020 to the current day.
Jaber stated the UAE, an Opec member, was “approaching COP28 with a powerful sense of duty and the very best doable stage of ambition”. He continued: “We are going to convey a realistic, sensible and solutions-oriented method that delivers transformative progress for the local weather and low carbon financial development.”
However Jaber’s new place as COP28 president was criticised by local weather advocates, who referred to as for him to step down from his position on the helm of Adnoc.
Tasneem Essop, govt director of Local weather Motion Community Worldwide, stated the position offered a “battle of curiosity” and that Jaber’s presidency of COP28 was “tantamount to a full-scale seize of the UN local weather talks by a petrostate nationwide oil firm and its related fossil gasoline lobbyists”.
Jaber, appointed head of Adnoc in 2016, was given the duty of modernising what was then an antiquated state oil firm. This included maximising revenues from the nation’s massive reserves and a plan to provide oil and gasoline with a decrease carbon footprint than that of different producers.
Nevertheless, Rachel Kyte, dean of the Fletcher College at Tufts College and a COP veteran, stated it will be “difficult” for the UAE to “unite international locations round extra aggressive motion” on local weather whereas persevering with to advertise its domestically produced oil and gasoline as “probably the most environment friendly and lowest-cost”.
Vanessa Nakate, a Ugandan local weather activist, stated: “We can’t have one other COP the place fossil gasoline pursuits are allowed to sacrifice our futures to eke out one other few years of revenue.”
Tony Blair, the previous UK prime minister, welcomed Jaber’s appointment, saying he introduced deep “diplomatic and industrial expertise” to the position. “The UAE has proven management in local weather funding and innovation. It’s already one of many largest traders in renewables at house and overseas and is an innovator in applied sciences essential to the vitality transition, “ Blair stated in a press release, calling the nation “the sincere dealer wanted to lift ambitions and search actual consensus.”
The EU’s earth commentary programme warned this week that 2022, a 12 months marked by excessive climate occasions, was the fifth warmest on report, with the typical world temperature virtually 1.2C above pre-industrial ranges. The worldwide Paris Settlement commits international locations to attempt to restrict warming to 1.5C by 2100.
COP28 has been earmarked as a “world stocktake”, when diplomats are charged with assessing the world’s progress on assembly the emissions discount targets set out within the Paris accord.
The UAE’s nationwide emissions discount goal is rated as “extremely inadequate” by analysis group Local weather Motion Tracker. Its 2050 energy targets, revealed in 2017, embrace 12 per cent “clear coal” and 38 per cent gasoline. Dubai has since introduced that its coal plant will probably be transformed to run on pure gasoline.
Talking on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Worldwide Petroleum Exhibition and Convention summit, Jaber stated that whereas renewables have been rising in significance and “the longer term is coming”, “it’s not right here but”. As such, “we should make progress with pragmatism”, he stated.
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