As the world faces the existential threat of climate change, the upcoming COP28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) presents a crucial opportunity for nations and organizations to come together and take meaningful action to combat this crisis. However, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants should carefully consider whether to participate in this event, given the UAE’s previous record of being unjust regarding human rights and climate action.
Despite presenting itself as modern and progressive, the UAE has a history of human rights violations, especially against migrant workers. Amnesty International reports that these workers face exploitation, such as forced labor and limited freedom of movement. Moreover, LGBTQ+ individuals and women experience systemic discrimination, with same-sex sexual activity and marriage/divorce subjected to discriminatory laws.
Issues related to UAE
Aside from these human rights issues, the UAE’s dependence on fossil fuels and inaction on climate change should concern the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which aims to decrease short-lived climate pollutants. The UAE ranks among the world’s highest greenhouse gas emitters per capita, with 90% of its electricity sourced from fossil fuels. Despite its ambitious renewable energy targets, the country has yet to implement policies to achieve these goals.
President of COP28
The selection of a petroleum industry chief, Sultan Al Jaber, as the President of COP28 worsens concerns about the conference’s intentions. It is ironic that a leader from the industry responsible for the majority of the climate crisis will head a conference aimed at addressing the same issue. It speaks for itself how well the COP28 will go.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition has made significant progress in reducing short-lived climate pollutants, which are responsible for a significant portion of global warming. However, in order to truly make a difference in this fight, it is important to address the root causes of climate change, including the burning of fossil fuels. By participating in COP28 in the UAE, the coalition would be lending legitimacy to a country that is part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.
UAE’S lack of Resources
Furthermore, the UAE’s lack of transparency and accountability on climate action raises concerns about the effectiveness of any agreements that may be reached at COP28. As the coalition has previously noted, “We need to be confident that what is agreed upon at COP28 is backed up by action, and that countries are held accountable for their commitments.” Given the UAE’s track record on climate action and human rights, it is difficult to have confidence in the country’s ability to follow through on any commitments it may make at this conference.
How UNFCCC can Help?
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition should take a strong stand against participating in COP28 in the UAE. By boycotting the event, the coalition would send a powerful message that it is committed to meaningful action on climate change, rather than simply going through the motions of attending yet another climate conference. Instead of legitimizing a country with a problematic track record, the coalition should focus on working with countries that are truly committed to reducing short-lived climate pollutants and achieving a sustainable future for all.
As the coalition has previously stated, “We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action on climate change.” By taking a bold stance and refusing to participate in COP28 in the UAE, the coalition can demonstrate its commitment to addressing this urgent crisis and pushing for real, meaningful action from all nations. It is time for the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to show leadership and take a stand for a sustainable future.