The United Arab Emirates’ choice of oil executive Sultan al-Jaber to lead the UN COP28 climate meeting this year has been defended by the UK government.
It follows a letter to the UN from more than 130 parliamentarians from the US and the EU demanding his dismissal.
The UN has long been under fire for allowing the fossil fuel industry to participate in the COP climate summits.
Graham Stuart, the minister in charge of Net Zero, described Jaber as “an outstanding individual” on Thursday.
Each year, the nation serving as the COP host proposes a candidate for president. Along with planning the event, they exercise political leadership by leading crucial climate action negotiations before and during the summit.
The opposition to this choice has been growing louder, and this week 133 politicians from the US and the EU joined the call for his dismissal.
The parliamentarians voiced their “profound concern” that the fossil fuel industry was permitted to sway the negotiations in a joint letter to the UN, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and US President Joe Biden.
However, Mr. Stuart defended the UAE’s choice during a news conference on Thursday.
He stated, in his remarks at a conference on environmental technology, “I think he is an outstanding individual and we look forward to working with the UAE to ensure COP28 is a success and gets more countries committing to the necessary emissions reductions.”
Jaber’s performance at ADNOC, the UAE’s state oil corporation, was also supported by Mr. Stuart, who claimed that he had improved operations and decreased emissions.
The emissions released when oil is utilized dwarf any emissions from its production. But the nation where they are utilized is responsible for the emissions caused by using oil products like gasoline.
One of the top ten oil producers in the world is the United Arab Emirates. According to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), its national oil firm pumped 2.7 million barrels of oil day in 2021.
By 2027, the business hopes to roughly increase its output to five million barrels per day, a target date that Jaber pushed up from 2030 two months ago.
One of the organizations pushing for his dismissal, 350.org, headed the global campaigning for Zeina Khalil Hajj, who stated: “It is the equivalent of appointing the CEO of a cigarette company to oversee a conference on cancer cures.”
The Bonn climate summit, which takes place 10 days before COP28 and serves as a midpoint for reflection on the status of the achievement of climate targets, will bring nations together. There are rumors that these discussions will serve as a platform for reflection on the participation of polluting businesses, such as oil firms, in the discussions.
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