COP28: President using summit to arrange oil deals proves 'fox is guarding hen house'
Reacting to a BBC report that Sultan Al Jaber, the president-designate of COP28, who is also the chief executive of the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), was briefed to advance the interests of the businesses he leads before dozens of bilateral meetings about the climate summit, Amnesty International’s Climate Advisor Ann Harrison, said:
“Sultan Al Jaber claims his inside knowledge of the fossil fuel industry qualifies him to lead a crucial climate summit but it looks ever more like a fox is guarding the hen house.
“The appointment of the chief executive of one of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to lead COP28 was always a brazen conflict of interests which undermines the meeting’s ability to reach the outcome we desperately need.
“Amnesty International has repeatedly warned it was not possible for Sultan Al Jaber to be an honest broker at a summit where the rapid and equitable phasing-out of fossil fuels to avert further trashing the climate and a just transition to renewable energy must be the priority. The stakes are huge, with our world heating at an unprecedented rate, many are already suffering, and the rights of billions of people are at stake.
“We are already experiencing a climate and human rights catastrophe caused by fossil fuels, yet since Sultan Al Jaber was made the COP28 president-designate in January, ADNOC has unveiled ambitious expansion plans, entirely incompatible with protecting the climate and safeguarding people’s rights to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
“Our calls on Sultan Al Jaber to step down from his role at ADNOC if he wishes to lead a successful summit remain valid.
“Documents suggesting he was briefed to advance business interests in COP meetings only fuel our concerns that COP28 has been comprehensively captured by the fossil fuel lobby to serve its vested interests that put the whole of humanity at risk.”
COP28 and conflicts of interest
ADNOC is among the ten largest producers of oil and gas in the world. According to documents obtained by the Centre for Climate Reporting, Sutan Al Jaber was briefed to advance the interest of ADNOC and Masdar, another state-owned energy company focussed on renewables and hydrogen. It was previously reported that ADNOC staff were seconded to the COP28 organising team in the UAE, and COP28 communications were reportedly routed through ADNOC computer servers.
COP28 runs from Thursday 30 November to Tuesday 12 December and brings together more than 190 states and other parties to address the climate crisis. Amnesty has published a formal advocacy briefing for COP28. Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard will attend COP28 from 1 to 6 December as part of an Amnesty International delegation which will be present throughout the event.