In a surprising twist, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-designate of COP28, has garnered attention for praising China’s climate action initiatives while facing criticism regarding his own country, the UAE, which heavily relies on oil industries and fossil fuels. Dr. Al Jaber’s remarks came during a high-level forum on green development in Beijing, where he emphasized the necessity of collective global action to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries worldwide have committed to restricting the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Dr. Al Jaber highlighted that China, through its green growth initiatives, is making significant contributions within the Belt and Road countries and globally.
“China has the potential to lead the world in transforming the Paris Agreement goals into tangible and lasting achievements,” he stated.
The United Nations has stressed that achieving the 1.5°C target is critical to prevent the displacement of many people due to rising sea levels and alleviate water scarcity issues. Dr. Al Jaber reiterated the importance of global cooperation, stating, “The world can only succeed if all countries, all companies, all stakeholders work together, as the Belt and Road Initiative has demonstrated over the past decade.”
The President-designate of COP28 further outlined the plan developed by the COP28 team based on four pillars:
- Fast-tracking a Just and Orderly Energy Transition: Dr. Al Jaber recognized China as the powerhouse that could facilitate this transition
- Fixing Climate Finance: He called on countries to fulfill the $100 billion pledge, emphasizing the need for concrete actions
- Focusing on People, Lives, and Livelihoods: Dr. Al Jaber underscored the importance of prioritizing the well-being of individuals and communities in climate efforts
- Full Inclusivity: Inclusivity was described as the underpinning principle that should guide all climate actions
It is worth noting that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed full support for the UAE in hosting Cop28 during Dr. Al Jaber’s visit to China.
While the UAE has made strides in promoting the event, critics have questioned Dr. Al Jaber’s suitability to host COP28 due to the nation’s heavy reliance on oil industries and fossil fuels. With a significant portion of the UAE’s economy tied to these sectors, concerns arise about the nation’s commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement and its ability to drive meaningful climate action.
Dr. Al Jaber’s visit to China was also marked by discussions with senior Chinese government officials on climate change-related topics. However, the criticism at home continues to loom over his leadership in the upcoming climate conference.
The high-level forum on green development took place ahead of the pre-Cop meeting on October 30-31 in the UAE. This gathering will bring together senior leaders and ministers to make substantial progress in defining and building consensus on negotiations before the commencement of COP28.
COP28 is scheduled to be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, and Dr. Al Jaber has pledged that this conference will be the first to integrate health and climate concerns. He called upon all countries, including China, to support the Cop28 declarations on food and health, highlighting their significance in fostering people-focused initiatives.
In an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape, Dr. Al Jaber stressed the global importance of COP28, serving as a platform for the world to set aside differences and unite in addressing a common challenge that affects everyone. As he continues to promote the conference internationally, questions remain about the UAE’s commitment to climate action in light of its heavy dependence on oil and fossil fuels.