COP28 president denies using summit for oil deals – BBC News

By Greg BrosnanBBC News Climate and Science

29 November 2023

Image source, Getty Images

The president of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai has denied that his country is using the meeting to make oil and gas deals.

COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber said at a news conference that the report aimed to undermine his COP28 presidency.

“These allegations are false, not true, incorrect and not accurate,” he said.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Our investigation was rigorously researched according to highest editorial standards.”

As well as being COP28 president, Mr Jaber is also CEO of the UAE’s giant state oil company, Adnoc, and of the state renewables business, Masdar.

The documents – obtained by independent journalists at the Centre for Climate Reporting working alongside the BBC – were prepared by the UAE’s COP28 team for meetings with at least 27 foreign governments ahead of the COP28 summit, which starts on 30 November.

They included proposed “talking points”, such as one for China which says Adnoc is “willing to jointly evaluate international LNG [liquefied natural gas] opportunities” in Mozambique, Canada and Australia.

The documents suggest telling a Colombian minister that Adnoc “stands ready” to support Colombia to develop its fossil fuel resources.

There are talking points for 13 other countries, including Germany and Egypt, which suggest telling them Adnoc wants to work with their governments to develop fossil fuel projects.

“I promise you, never ever did I see these talking points that they refer to or that I ever even used such talking points in my discussions,” Mr Jaber told the news conference, which BBC News was not invited to.

COP28 is the UN’s latest round of global climate talks. This year it is being hosted by the UAE in Dubai and is due to be attended by world leaders, including King Charles III.

More on the COP28 climate summit

International organisations including Amnesty International have called for Mr Jaber to resign from his position as head of Adnoc, citing a conflict of interest.

In the news conference, which can be watched here, Mr Jaber said the UAE did not need to use COP28 to promote its business interests.

“Do you think the UAE or myself will need the COP or the COP presidency to go and establish business deals or commercial relationships?” he said. “This country over the past 50 years has been built around its ability to build bridges and to create relationships and partnerships.”

The hope is COP28 will help limit the long-term global temperature rise to 1.5C, which the UN’s climate science body says is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But that will require drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, it says – a 43% reduction by 2030 from 2019 levels.

Mr Jaber said: “Every meeting I have conducted with every government or any other stakeholder has always been centred around one thing and one thing only: that is my COP28 agenda and how we can collectively for the first time ever, adopt a mindset that is centred around implementation and action to keep 1.5C within reach.”

“Now, sometimes I am told you need to engage with governments and with oil and gas companies to put pressure and sometimes I’m told you can’t do that.

“So we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. So please, for once, respect who we are, respect what we have achieved over the years and respect the fact that we have been clear, open and clean and honest and transparent on how we are going to conduct this COP process.”

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