The UAE named Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of the national oil company ADNOC, as the president of this year’s COP28 climate summit.
The controversial appointment has been the subject of much discussion and has been criticized by environmentalists, who have called it a ‘dangerous precedent’ that could undermine the credibility of the UAE.
This year, the UAE will be hosting the COP28 climate conference, which Tracy Carty, global climate politics expert with Greenpeace International, says “needs to conclude with an uncompromised commitment to a just phase out of all fossil fuels: coal, oil and gas.”
Hence, one could argue that there is potential for a massive conflict of interest at hand.
Others, like Tasneem Essop, the executive director of Climate Action Network International, have gone even further and called on Al Jaber to step down as the CEO of ADNOC.
However, in addition to being an oil executive, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber is also the country’s minister for industry and advanced technology and a chairman of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s top renewable energy company that was founded back in 2006.
Because of this and the UAE’s recent advances in the realm of green energy, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans is defending Al Jaber’s role as president of COP28, saying he has everything it takes to lead everyone into successful climate talks.
In an interview for EURACTIV, Timmermans called on critics to look past Al Jaber’s position as CEO of a major oil company, and instead, notice his efforts over the last few years to help the oil and gas sector transition to a more sustainable future.
Furthermore, Al Jaber himself has expressed his belief in the renewable energy sector, as one that offers unmatched potential, and made clear the necessity to triple the world’s renewables capacity by the end of the decade.