The UAE has been constantly criticized for winning the proposal to hold the COP28 Climate summit this year, especially for its growing dependency on oil and gas to sustain its economy. Some state that it is essential as the oil powers require the most diversification to survive without fossil fuels, like the UAE, which is closely associated with the global climate talks, while others condemn the decision. However, environmentalists globally worry that the UAE will not take COP28 seriously and will disable the progress made at the annual climate conference. Now, it is being criticized more, as it suggested that a significant soil and representative will run the summit. So, it’s still not clear whether COP 28 will help advance climate aims or it will be destructive to the green transition.
The UAE was clear from the beginning that if COP 28 was to be held there, then the oil and gas companies should be involved, indicating that including them in the discussion is the only way to bring meaningful changes in the energy sector.
Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, indicated, “We can’t merely unplug from the energy system of today, and we can not do this with a flip of a switch. We need to incorporate the energy experts in the discussions and consultation and make economic systems work more efficiently with less carbon”.
This decision is not surprising, as the UAE earns a high ratio of its revenue from oil and gas, as OPEC is the third largest oil producer after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The government has set an aspiring target to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050 while also seeking to raise its crude out to up to 5 million bpd by 2030 from less than 4 million. The decision to include oil and gas firms in the climate summit contemplates the balance that the government is trying to strike between the climate policy progress and the growing production of oil and gas.
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This month the UAE stated that from now AbuDhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) would lead COP28.
Lisa Schipper, the lead author of the 2022 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported on climate adaptation and started tagging, “Putting an oil CEO in charge of the negotiations for the COP28 is a conflict of interest”.
However, Sultan Al Jaber, head of ADNOC, believes that including significant oil and gas representatives will motivate energy firms to take the climate situation more seriously and anticipate the green transition.
The decision to give a prominent role in the climate discussion to oil and gas companies has met a mixed response from different global powers. Denmark has offered its support to the UAE over appointing Jaber as the head of talks.
However, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attracted global attention by calling the decision ” completely ridiculous” at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Other activists at the yeh forum also agreed with Thunberg, suggesting that the choice of UAE considers the Egyptian government’s decision to involve oil and gas in COP27 and the direction in which direction is headed, approving of fossil fuel-producing companies.
The UAE is facing criticism from around the globe for its involvement in COP28. However, decisions are split over whether including oil and gas representatives in the climate talks is positive or negative. And apart from that, the energy firms are critical to a successful green transition which can be helpful in the continuation of fossil fuel production.