Amnesty: Placing UAE oil chief Al-Jaber in charge of COP28 'threatens climate chaos'

Amnesty: Placing UAE oil chief Al-Jaber in charge of COP28 'threatens climate chaos'
2 min read
13 January, 2023
Amnesty International has raised the alarm over the appointment of UAE oil boss Sultan Al-Jaber as head of this year's COP28 climate conference.
Sultan Al-Jaber's role as head of the November COP28 conference has drawn condemnation from climate activists [Getty]

Amnesty International has warned against putting Emirati oil company chief Sultan al-Jaber in charge of the upcoming COP28 climate conference, saying the move threatens "further climate chaos".

The UAE will host this year's global climate conference, despite being a major producer of oil and gas.

Like Egypt, which hosted the 2022 summit, it has also been widely criticised for the detention of government opponents including pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansoor.

"Sultan al-Jaber’s appointment sends the wrong signal to the people most affected by climate change," Amnesty’s Climate Advisor Chiara Liguori said.

"It is also a disappointing selection for all those hoping COP28 will offer swift progress on reducing carbon emissions and delivering climate justice."

Al-Jaber is the chief executive of state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) which is ranked the 12th largest oil company in the world by production.

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Amnesty urged Al-Jaber to resign from his role at the state-owned company if he is to head the summit.

Liguori also called on the UAE's COP28 leadership team to include the phasing out of dangerous fossil fuels as part of the key objectives of the conference.

She also added that Al-Jaber’s appointment, will "heighten concerns" that the Gulf country will use its presidency of the COP28 conference to advance fossil fuel interests.

Other climate campaigners have condemned Al-Jaber's appointment, according to the The Guardian, expressing fears that the COP28 presidency will not hold greenhouse gas emitting countries accountable.

The UAE government confirmed on Thursday that Al-Jaber will not resign as head of the state energy company, The Guardian said.

A government spokesperson said: "[Al-Jaber's professional] experience uniquely positions him to be able to convene both the public and private sector to bring about pragmatic solutions to achieve the goals and aspirations of the Paris climate agreement."

The United Nations climate conference is due to be held in Dubai in November this year. In November last year, Abu Dhabi was found to have hired public relations and lobbying agencies to improve its environmental reputation ahead of the COP27 conference in Egypt.