Exposed: UN climate host UAE violates ethics and conducts secret side-deals promoting fossil fuels

Dr Sultan al-Jaber is president of the climate summit and the head of the United Arab Emirates' state oil company. Credit: Getty Images

By Alliance President Terry Gips

The outcome of this year’s critical, long-awaited UN Climate Conference COP28 in United Arab Emirates (UAE) could well determine the fate of real climate action as bio-systems are crashing around the world. However, they began with the truly disgusting revelation that leaked briefing documents showed the UAE planned to use its role as the host of COP28 as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals, according to the BBC. So while the conference is seeking to cut carbon, its hosts are using it as a business opportunity to increase it.

Professor Michael Jacobs of Sheffield University, who is an expert on UN climate politics, told the BBC the COP28 team’s actions looked “breathtakingly hypocritical.” He continued, “I actually think it’s worse than that, because the UAE at the moment is the custodian of a United Nations process aimed at reducing global emissions. And yet, in the very same meetings where it’s apparently trying to pursue that goal, it’s actually trying to do side deals which will increase global emissions.”

UN hosts are expected to “act without bias or self-interest.” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the head of the COP20 summit in Peru in 2014, said, “If any president of the COP tries to bring a particular interest, [including] commercial interest, that could mean the failure of the COP.” Clearly, the UAE has endangered the success of COP28 and the planet by their egregious actions. 

The documents prove that the UAE’s COP28 team was planning to create fossil fuels deals with at least 27 foreign governments attending the COP28 summit. The leaked information was obtained by independent journalists at the Centre for Climate Reporting working alongside the BBC. Thanks to both organizations for their brilliant investigative reporting.

Shockingly, the UAE team did not deny using COP28 meetings for business talks and said “private meetings are private.” It declined comment on what was discussed in the meetings and said its work has been focused on “meaningful climate action.” Really?! “Meaningful climate action” is more fossil fuels?! Can you believe this? This is a clear violation of the UN standards. It’s pathetic that it’s taking place at a meeting meant to solve the climate crisis.

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