The United Arab Emirates has been reported to intentionally use the COP28 climate summit as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals in private meetings with government officials, claims a report by the BBC.
The information was evidenced by leaked documents revealing briefing notes prepared by the UAE’s COP28 team for meetings between Sultan al-Jaber, who serves as both COP28 president-designate and chief executive of state fossil fuels giant ADNOC, and almost 30 foreign governments.
The documents were published on Monday by the Centre for Climate Reporting, which worked in collaboration with the BBC. The notes show plans for Sultan al-Jaber to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations.
According to the BBC, the UAE team did not deny using COP28 meetings for business talks, saying “private meetings are private”.
One of the “talking points” listed is for China where Adnoc, the UAE’s state oil company, states it is “willing to jointly evaluate international LNG [liquefied natural gas] opportunities” in Mozambique, Canada and Australia.
Other points suggest telling a Colombian minister that Adnoc “stands ready” to support Colombia to develop its fossil fuel resources.
More talking points include:
- The Brazilian environment minister is to be asked for help “securing alignment and endorsement” for Adnoc’s bid for Latin America’s largest oil and gas processing company, Braskem. Adnoc has made a $2.1bn offer to buy a key stake in Braskem.
- Germany is to be told by Adnoc: “We stand ready to continue our LNG supplies.”
- Adnoc suggests the oil-producing nations of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela be told “there is no conflict between the sustainable development of any country’s natural resources and its commitment to climate change.”
Apart from Adnoc, the briefings show talking points on commercial opportunities for the state-owned renewable energy company Masdar.
The world’s largest climate change conference, expected to accelerate fossil fuel phase-out and bolder actions to drive the green transition, to be used as an opportunity to strike deals that increase emissions is an enormous discrepancy, controversy and hypocrisy.
Being hosted by one of the world’s largest fossil fuels producers could be a major drawback if the UAE’s leadership of the climate talks, and of the COP28 president himself, fail to result in transformative climate outcomes, especially in the most critical time when the world needs to speed up the energy transition immediately.