Climate: Putting UAE oil chief in charge of COP28 threatens further climate chaos

Reacting to the appointment of Sultan al-Jaber, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, the United Arab Emirates’ national oil company, as president-designate of the COP28 climate conference to be held in Dubai later this year, Chiara Liguori, Amnesty International’s Climate Advisor, said:

“Sultan al-Jaber’s appointment sends the wrong signal to the people most affected by climate change. It is also a disappointing selection for all those hoping COP28 will offer swift progress on reducing carbon emissions and delivering climate justice.

“The fact that the UAE is a major oil producer does not bode well for the outcome of COP28, and the appointment of the head of the national oil company will heighten concerns that the UAE will use its presidency of COP28 to foster fossil fuel interests.

A man wearing a traditional Arab robe called a "thawb" is standing at a lectern giving a speech at a conference.
Sultan Al Jaber is the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Photo: Masdar Corporate/Flickr).

“There is still time to reverse course. Sultan al-Jaber should resign from his role with the state oil company, and the UAE’s COP28 leadership team should include the phasing out of fossil fuels among its priorities for the conference.

“The demands from a growing number of civil society groups and governments on the need to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels at the COP27 in November did not prevail in the face of a powerful fossil fuel lobby, which secured access for more than 630 representatives to attend the meeting, the blatant opposition of oil-producing states, and the ambiguous position of some other countries.

“With the latest studies showing that temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate and greenhouse gas concentrations are at record highs, meaningful progress in the fight against climate change has never been more urgent.”