The appointment of Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, the Group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), as President for the upcoming COP28 climate talks in Dubai later this year, has sparked concerns about the conflict of interest that arises from being both an oil company boss and a host of a climate conference. ADNOC, one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, plans to increase fossil fuel production, yet Al-Jaber is urging the oil industry to “up its game, do more, and do it faster” to address climate change.
Concern at CERAweek
Critics argue that Al-Jaber‘s presidency of COP28 is “tantamount to a full-scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company and its associated fossil fuel lobbyists.” This concern was also raised during the recent CERAweek conference, where industry leaders discussed the role of oil and gas in the energy transition
ADNOC’s plans to expand its production run counter to the urgent need to reduce emissions to meet global climate goals. While Al-Jaber’s comments on the need for the oil industry to increase action on climate change are welcomed, the industry’s continued drilling makes such rhetoric flawed.
Al-Jaber proposes false solutions to the climate crisis, such as hydrogen and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which will only prolong the use of fossil fuels. The only way to limit warming to 1.5°C is to halt all new fossil fuel projects and shift investments to renewables. This was a key message at CERAweek, where industry leaders discussed the need to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Investing in more fossil fuels and false solutions will only make the world more turbulent and disruptive. Any climate scientist will attest to this fact, and perhaps a climate scientist, not an oilman, should have been the President of the next COP too.
In conclusion, it is concerning to see a petrostate national oil company and its associated fossil fuel lobbyists capturing the UN climate talks. This situation poses a conflict of interest that hinders progress towards global climate goals. It is imperative to have impartial leadership that aligns with the urgent need to reduce emissions and shift investments to renewables. This was also emphasized at CERAweek, where industry leaders discussed the role of oil and gas in the energy transition and the need to address climate change.