There is universal condemnation today on the breaking news that the United Arab Emirates has appointed a veteran oil industry insider to preside over the upcoming UN climate talks that will happen later this year in Dubai.
The news this morning that Sultan al-Jaber, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil, will be the new chair of the climate talks is a new low for the UN climate process.
The COP’s credibility was already battered by recent events in Egypt, with accusations of greenwashing, undue corporate influence of fossil fuel lobbyists, and attacks and intimidation of climate activists by the host nation.
The announcement ironically came the day after the journal Nature published an editorial saying that: “UN climate conferences are too beholden to oil and gas interests. Like-minded nations must come together to keep climate hopes alive.”
But the appointment of Al-Jaber, who is described as a “veteran technocrat” seems to be the final straw for many climate activists and experts.
The polluting oil-pumping fox has literally taken over the hen house. As Aljazeera points out this morning: Al-Jaber’s firm “pumps some 4 million barrels of crude a day and hopes to expand to 5 million daily, generating more of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide that the UN annual climate negotiations aim to limit.”
Tasneem Essop, the executive director of Climate Action Network International, told the Guardian that if Al-Jaber, “does not step down as CEO, it will be tantamount to a full-scale capture of the UN climate talks by a petrostate national oil company and its associated fossil fuel lobbyists.”
She added: “As civil society we [will] demand that Al Jaber does the right thing and either stand aside or step down.”
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