Sultan Al Jaber, the COP28 president-elect, has vehemently refuted claims made against him and his staff that they tried to use the international climate conference in Dubai to close fossil fuel contracts for the UAE’s state-owned oil and gas business.
This week, headlines from a number of media sites were based on a cache of leaked documents that the UK-registered Center for Climate Reporting was able to secure. The materials looked to be briefing notes for Al Jaber for meetings with foreign leaders before the summit. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is also managed by Al Jaber. He disputes having ever seen the materials or utilizing them as talking points in his conversations.
A number of the documents included recommendations for new oil and gas projects that the UAE may propose to visiting authorities.
When a reporter asked him for a response during a news conference in Dubai on Wednesday, he responded, “These allegations are false, not true, incorrect, and inaccurate.” Additionally, it’s an effort to disparage the efforts of the COP28 presidency.
Since Al Jaber, his office, and the UAE appointed its top oil executive to lead the talks, which start on Thursday and are anticipated to cover ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels, which is the main cause of the climate crisis, they have come under heavy fire, especially from Western media and civil society organizations.
Al Jaber took more than three minutes to deny the accusations and voice his displeasure with the comments regarding his ties to the oil and gas sector. In addition, he defended the UAE’s strong economic growth and its diplomatic ties to other countries’ corporations and governments.
I have a question for you: Do you believe that in order for the UAE or me to go out and make business deals or commercial connections, we will need the COP or the COP presidency? Al Jaber inquired.
For the past fifty years, the foundation of this nation has been its capacity to forge alliances and partnerships and to erect bridges.
The number of meetings that really occurred is unknown, but the leaked notes seem to provide some insight into the team’s intentions to use them as a springboard for new business. Four of the fifteen countries that CNN contacted to confirm meetings said they either had no business negotiations or would not confirm if they had. Two more responded that there had been no meeting.
Al Jaber made it clear that his COP28 agenda was the main topic of discussion at every meeting he had with officials.
The focus of every meeting he has held with a government or other stakeholder has been on one thing and one thing only: his COP28 agenda and how, for the first time ever, we can all adopt a mindset that is largely focused on implementation and action to keep 1.5 within reach.
According to the Paris Agreement, attempts should be made to keep the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Scientists predict that once that threshold is crossed, life on Earth will find it more difficult to adapt.
He went on to say that he frequently received conflicting advice about whether or not to interact in his capacity with oil and gas corporations.
I occasionally hear that in order to exert pressure, you should interact with politicians and oil and gas firms. And occasionally he tells me, “You can’t do that.” Therefore, whether we do or do not, we will be doomed.
He thanked the reporter who questioned him about the claims after refuting them. I feel much better, he remarked as he wrapped up.
Al Jaber is currently in charge of increasing ADNOC’s output of gas and oil. The corporation is now increasing its capacity to 5 million barrels per day by 2027 from 4 million barrels per day, which was its level in 2022.