COP28 Controversy:

COP28 Controversy: Why Climate Conference Under Criticism?

The COP28 climate conference will be held in Dubai later this year. Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, the CEO of an oil company called Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), will be the conference’s president. This has caused Cop28 controversy because some people think it is not right for someone who works for an oil company to also be in charge of a conference about climate change. This is because oil companies are often seen as contributing to climate change, and there may be a conflict of interest.

The appointment of Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber has led to questions about whether the conference will be biased toward the interests of the oil industry. Some people are worried that important issues related to climate change, such as reducing the use of fossil fuels, might not be discussed as openly as they should be. Others argue that it is essential to have people from different industries involved in the conversation about climate change so that everyone can work together to find solutions.

The announcement by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that Sultan al-Jaber, the head of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), will lead the COP28 climate talks in Dubai later this year has sparked outrage among climate activists and civil society groups. Critics argue that al-Jaber’s role as CEO of a major oil company represents a clear conflict of interest with his position as COP28 president-designate.

Al-Jaber, who also serves as the UAE minister for industry and technology and the country’s climate envoy, is expected to play a significant role in intergovernmental negotiations to build consensus at the conference. However, his appointment has triggered international criticism, with some likening it to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Teresa Anderson, the global climate justice lead at ActionAid, a development charity, expressed concern, stating, “The UN Climate Summit is supposed to be a space where the world holds polluters to account, but increasingly [it’s] being hijacked by those with opposing interests.” Anderson criticized the growing influence of fossil fuel interests in shaping the climate talks.

Tasneem Essop, head of the Climate Action Network, which comprises over 1,500 civil society groups, raised objections to al-Jaber presiding over the climate talks, describing it as a “full-scale capture” of the UN negotiations by a national oil company with associated fossil fuel lobbyists.

Some experts also expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of the COP process. Bill McGuire, a professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, suggested the need for separate bodies focusing on specific climate-related issues throughout the year instead of the current format, which he described as a “bloated festival of world leader photoshoots and oil execs.”

In response to the criticism, a spokesperson for the UAE Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change emphasized al-Jaber’s experience and ability to convene both the public and private sectors to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. They highlighted the UAE’s commitment to an inclusive COP process and its dedication to openness, transparency, and accountability.

COP28 Controversy: Reason Why Climate Conference Under Criticism

The concern is the UAE’s poor track record on human rights, including restrictions on freedom of speech, assembly, and association, and its dependence on fossil fuels. Some worry that the UAE’s oil and gas interests may affect the conference’s agenda and priorities, potentially hindering progress on necessary climate action measures. Let’s start to discuss the different reasons in a detailed manner.

1. Sultan Al Jaber And ADNOC

The climate conference is under criticism because the person who chose to lead it, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, has a background in the oil industry. He is the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and has been appointed president-elect of COP28, the conference aimed at combating climate change. This decision is contradictory to the goals of the UNFCCC.

Climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, have criticized the appointment and expressed concern about a country with strong ties to the fossil fuel industry leading the charge on climate action. This raises questions about the legitimacy of the talks and the true intentions of the UAE.

Tasneem Essop, the Executive Director of Climate Action Network, criticized the appointment, calling it a “capture” of the UN climate talks by a national oil company and fossil fuel lobbyists.

2. UAE: Country That Has Long History of Human Right Violation

One of the other reasons for the COP28 Controversy is that the UAE has a history of treating migrant workers poorly. These workers often have bad working conditions, don’t get paid, and can’t move around freely. Women and others face discrimination, too, with some activities being illegal and laws about marriage and divorce that are unfair.

Apart from these human rights problems, the UAE uses a lot of fossil fuels and hasn’t done enough to fight climate change. This is a problem for the OECD, which wants to promote sustainable development. The UAE makes a lot of greenhouse gasses, and only 10% of its electricity comes from renewable energy. Although they have set goals for using more renewable energy technology, they haven’t done enough to reach those goals.

3.Unsustainable Finances of UAE

Climate conference is being criticized because the UAE is not doing enough to use clean energy and is still using non-renewable energy. Rather, its financial investments is highly unsustainable. The UAE only uses about 2% of clean energy, even though it can use more solar energy. This is a problem because it shows that the UAE may not be serious about fighting climate change.

4. COP28 Controversy: Involvement of UAE In War Crimes

The climate conference is getting criticized because of the UAE’s bad reputation. The UAE has been accused of committing war crimes and financing terrorist organizations. These accusations raise concerns as UAE is hosting a climate conference to fight climate change, closely linked to global security and stability. Ali Rashid Al-Nuaimi, a former Brotherhood figure and the Ist chairman of the International Steering Board of Hedayah, has been involved in financing these organizations, which is alarming.

In January 2020, a drone from the UAE attacked a military academy in Libya and killed 26 students who were not armed. They used a missile called the Chinese Blue Arrow 7, and the drone’s name was Wing Loong II. The UAE controlled the Libyan air base where the drone was launched. Although they denied it, new evidence suggests that the UAE used Egyptian military air bases close to Libya to carry out the attack. The families of the victims have not yet received answers or justice. This is a terrible violation of human life and dignity, and the international community should take action to hold the UAE accountable for its actions.

Final Thoughts: COP28 Controversy

Hopefully, this guide clears your mind about the COP28 controversy. Please consider the concerns we mentioned and understand what the UAE wants to do with COP28. We must focus on a sustainable future and fight the real danger of climate change, but we should ensure it’s done fairly and equally for everyone.

The upcoming COP28 summit, scheduled from November 30 to December 12, will be the first global stocktake since the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015. The UAE, as the first Middle Eastern country to ratify the accord, has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by the mid-century and is positioning itself as a leader in climate action. However, the appointment of an oil executive to a prominent role in the climate talks raises concerns about the influence of fossil fuel interests in shaping global climate policy.