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The President-Designate for COP28 is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothes

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber could have spectacular inexperienced credentials, however many are saying his position as an oil firm CEO disqualifies him because the host of this 12 months’s world local weather convention.  His critics say it’s unconscionable that the pinnacle of a serious oil producer is being allowed to supervise COP28.

Al Jaber is the primary CEO and the primary head of an oil firm to be president-designate of a COP assembly. His appointment has encountered appreciable resistance from civil society and legislators. Greater than 400 environmental teams despatched a letter to the UN secretary-general saying that Al Jaber’s place as president-designate of COP28, “threatens the legitimacy and efficacy” of the summit. On the finish of Might, 130 US and EU lawmakers mentioned Al Jaber shouldn’t be allowed to host the local weather talks.

In an interview with Bloomberg Inexperienced, Al Jaber referred to as the controversy surrounding his appointment a giant misunderstanding, and argued there isn’t a contradiction between being an oil CEO and operating a local weather convention.  He cautions his detractors to not prejudge his presidency and claims to have a plan that may ship unprecedented private-sector emissions cuts.

Who’s Sultan Al-Jaber?

Al Jaber’s tutorial achievements embody a BSc in Chemical Engineering from the College of Southern California, an MBA from the California State College, and a Ph.D. in enterprise and economics from the UK’s Coventry College.

Along with being the president-designate of COP28, he’s a former local weather envoy.  He’s at present a UAE Cupboard Member and the Minister of Trade and Superior Expertise. The place that has garnered probably the most controversy is his position as the pinnacle of the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm (ADNOC), the world’s Twelfth-largest producer of oil and fuel.

Whereas local weather activists have decried what they see as a transparent battle of curiosity, Al Jaber insists that he’s an advocate of “transformational progress”. His defenders tout his successes in each sustainable improvement and renewable power. They level to his management position in Masdar, the UAE’s clear power pathway, and his oversight of renewable power investments in over 40 international locations. Additionally they say that the forthcoming local weather summit will profit from Al Jaber’s familiarity with the COP course of, his data of sustainable improvement, and his expertise in each enterprise and authorities. 

Al Jaber’s spin machine

Al Jaber desires to concentrate on his management of the UAE’s renewable power investments and abroad improvement assist. He has been working with consultancy companies and PR businesses to refurbish his picture and promote his inexperienced credentials. Al Jaber’s spin masters wish to downplay his position as the pinnacle of the nation’s largest oil producer and focus public consideration on ADNOC’s investments in carbon seize and inexperienced gasoline applied sciences like hydrogen.  Whereas Al Jaber’s advertising and marketing group casts him as an ally of the local weather motion, Amnesty Worldwide mentioned he “can’t be an trustworthy dealer for local weather talks when the corporate he leads is planning to trigger extra local weather harm.”

As reported in Widespread Goals, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse mentioned: “It’s not stunning that COP28 is making an attempt to burnish Al Jaber’s inexperienced credentials, however the reality stays that as an oil govt, he’s additionally overseeing a variety of harm to the planet.”  To keep away from undue affect by the fossil gasoline business, Whitehouse urged the UN, to “rethink methods to run these essential boards”.

Al Jaber is conscious of the criticisms which is why he’s making an attempt to spin a extra climate-friendly narrative. Members of Al Jaber’s group had been discovered to have edited Wikipedia to downplay his position as CEO of ADNOC. A few of these Wikipedia edits had been made by Ramzi Haddad, the pinnacle of the COP 28 advertising and marketing group. After being caught, Haddad tried to advertise Al Jaber’s inexperienced credentials anonymously.

As reported by the Guardian, Marwa Fatafta, who leads the digital rights group Entry Now, mentioned the “alarming” Wikipedia revelations are a part of broader makes an attempt by the UAE to “polish up the picture of Al Jaber [and] a pre-emptive step to try to management and form the narrative as a lot as they’ll.”

Caroline Lucas, a British politician who has twice led the Inexperienced Celebration of England and Wales is worried in regards to the fossil gasoline business’s rising management. Lucas mentioned, “Oil corporations and their CEOs are taking greenwash to a complete new stage – seizing management of world local weather conferences, then getting their very own staff to airbrush out criticism of their blatant hypocrisy on Wikipedia”.

It’s onerous to keep away from the conclusion, that simply because the UAE is making an attempt to greenwash fossil fuels, the president-designate for COP 28 is making an attempt to greenwash his picture.

Al Jaber is a wolf in sheep’s clothes

The UAE could also be small, however its carbon footprint is large. With a footprint that’s 3 times the worldwide common, the UAE is without doubt one of the largest per capita emitters of GHGs on the planet.  Virtually a 3rd of the nation’s GDP is derived straight from oil and fuel and far of the remainder of the UAE’s financial system is said to industries linked to fossil fuels.

In 2022, the UAE produced 2,954,000 barrels of oil per day making it the world’s seventh-largest oil producer. The nation additionally has the seventh largest oil reserves, with greater than 110 billion barrels, together with 650 million barrels of latest discoveries.

Final November ADNOC’s board endorsed plans to extend power manufacturing from a mean of three.2 million barrels of petroleum and liquids per day to five million barrels per day. A comparability of oil manufacturing within the UAE in February and March reveals that crude oil manufacturing is rising in 2023.  An OCI report discovered that between 2023 and 2025 the UAE will see one of many world’s largest expansions in fossil fuel-related CO2 emissions.

Al Jaber’s emission discount plan together with “key deliverables” and “concrete KPIs” are meant to justify rising fossil gasoline manufacturing. But, a plethora of scientific research together with these from the IPCC in addition to the IEA have clearly said that to maintain warming beneath prescribed limits (1.5°C or 2.7°F above preindustrial ranges) there could be no new investments in fossil fuels.

The science is being ignored as oil and fuel emissions maintain rising and petrostates just like the UAE are planning large will increase in manufacturing. Regardless of many years of disinformation, it’s abundantly clear that the fossil gasoline business is not going to voluntarily slash manufacturing.

Al Jaber’s emissions discount plan is closely depending on massively scaling carbon removing and whereas this can be a important a part of the suite of required actions, it’s not a panacea.  To attain the required emissions reductions inside the window of time we’ve, we should concurrently construct out carbon removing applied sciences alongside important reductions in fossil gasoline manufacturing.  Whereas Al Jaber can boast some main local weather accomplishments, his plans to extend oil and fuel manufacturing preclude any pretense of local weather management.


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