Over 100 United States and European Union, politicians have called for the removal of oil executive Sultan Al Jaber as the head of the upcoming COP28 climate summit.
They have appealed to their respective country leaders and the United Nations to replace Al Jaber and take further measures to limit the influence of fossil fuel companies at the talks, which the United Arab Emirates will host.
The appointment of Al Jaber, the CEO of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., has been controversial since its announcement, as it contradicts the conference’s goal to promote global action in reducing carbon emissions.
“For billions of people, the outcome of COP28 and following international climate negotiations will make the difference between life and death, chaos and solidarity,” said Manon Aubry, a member of the European Parliament and one of the signatories. “Corporate greed and lobbyists’ lies have led us into this climate crisis. We must prevent private interests from interfering in politics and regain ownership of our future.”
The letter was addressed to US President Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the UN’s climate chief Simon Stiell. It was signed by 99 EU lawmakers and 34 US lawmakers. The signatories emphasized the critical importance of the COP28 outcome for billions of people and stressed the need to prevent corporate interests and lobbyists from interfering in politics, reclaiming control over our future.
This recent effort to remove Al Jaber follows previous attempts made earlier this year. In January, over two dozen US lawmakers urged the country’s climate envoy John Kerry to diplomatically pressure the UAE to replace Al Jaber as the COP28 chief. In February, EU lawmakers focused on environmental issues also made a similar case in a letter addressed to the UN’s Stiell.
Critics argue that Al Jaber’s leadership conflicts with the objectives of COP28, as his role in boosting oil and gas production through Adnoc aligns with the International Energy Agency and climate scientists’ concerns that it could lead to surpassing global warming limits established in previous COP agreements. It should be noted that Al Jaber is also the chairman of the state-owned renewable energy company Masdar.