Dr. Sultan al-Jaber serves as the president of COP28, the latest United Nations climate conference currently in progress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dr. al-Jaber also holds the position of CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
The potential conflict of interest in Dr. al-Jaber’s various roles has attracted attention once again following his reported comments regarding the role of fossil fuels as part of the efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This objective is a primary target established by the Paris Agreement, adopted at the COP climate conference in 2015.
Dr. al-Jaber was quoted during an online event on Nov. 21 saying, “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5.” He also added remarks suggesting that ceasing fossil fuel usage would be detrimental to economic development.
His statements drew criticism from climate scientists and environmental advocates, including former Vice President Al Gore, who asserted, “He should not be taken seriously. He’s protecting his profits and placing them in a higher priority than the survival of the human civilization,” in a statement to Reuters.
Furthermore, his assertions seemingly contradicted the United Nations and its secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, who emphasized that achieving the 1.5C limit is only possible if all fossil fuel burning ceases. This is in direct opposition to Dr. al-Jaber’s stance.
Dr. al-Jaber was previously under scrutiny in November afterrevealing his intention to discuss commercial oil and gas interests with representatives of other nations during pre-conference meetings.
Sultan Al Jaber’s positioning as the head of a crucial climate summit has been met with skepticism, with Ann Harrison from Amnesty International stating, “It looks ever more like a fox is guarding the hen house,” alluding to potential conflicts of interest.