ABU DHABI (AP) – Hundreds of climate and environmental groups from around the world have released a letter that decried the nomination of an oil executive to oversee the United Nations climate negotiations at COP28 this year.
Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates, host of the UN climate talks this year, named Sultan al-Jaber to the presidency of the conference Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. The company he runs as chief executive, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., produces 4 million barrels of crude oil per day and hopes to expand to 5 million daily by the end of the decade.
Revenues generated from the sale of that oil are critical to economic health of the UAE. And the burning of that oil creates carbon dioxide emissions while the climate crisis is worsening.
Activists said the selection of al-Jaber “threatens the legitimacy and efficacy” of the conference. “There is no honor in appointing a fossil fuel executive who profits immensely off of fueling the climate crisis to oversee the global response to climate change,” read the letter to UN officials.
The letter goes on to say the nomination of an oil executive to oversee the climate talks exemplifies the influence that fossil fuel companies have over international climate policy.
The letter has been signed by noted environmental and climate action groups including, 350.org, Friends of the Earth International and Greenpeace, along with five of the nine coalitions of non-governmental organizations that represent different sectors of the global population at the climate talks.
After al-Jaber was announced as the head of the next COP meeting, U.S climate envoy John Kerry called the UAE “a crucial partner” in the climate crisis.
The decision made by the UAE comes as the climate crisis is worsening and there have been repeated warnings from experts that the world is not on track to limit warming by the 1.5 degrees Celsius set out in the Paris Agreement