UAE said on Thursday that the head of state oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Company would lead this year's COP28 climate summit.
14 January 2023, 12:00 AM
28 February 2023, 12:00 AM
A number of top climate officials and champions were appointed on Thursday as the UAE gears up for COP28, which it will be hosting this year.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Court, appointed Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as president-designate for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).
Sultan al-Jaber, also UAE's minister of industry and technology and its climate envoy, will help shape the conference's agenda and intergovernmental negotiations to build consensus, his office said in a statement.
Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs; and Razan Al Mubarak, president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will join Al Jaber’s COP28 UAE team as the youth climate champion and UN climate change high-level champion, respectively.
The UAE, a major OPEC oil exporter, will be the second Arab state to host the climate conference after Egypt in 2022.
Global Witness called Jaber's appointment a "harsh blow" to weaning the world off fossil fuels.
"Like last year's summit, we're increasingly seeing fossil fuel interests taking control of the process and shaping it to meet their own needs," added Teresa Anderson, global lead of climate justice at ActionAid, in a statement.
More than 600 fossil fuel lobbyists were present at the climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh.
"Putting an oil CEO in charge of of the negotiations for COP28 is clearly a conflict of interest," said Lisa Schipper, an environmental geographer who served as lead author on last year's U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate adaptation.
European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said he would meet Jaber this week. "As incoming Presidency, the UAE has a crucial role in shaping the global response to the climate crisis," he said on Twitter, adding "we need to pick up speed".