Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE oil chief who headed COP28 in Dubai, promised that this yr’s UN local weather talks could be “totally different”. He didn’t disappoint.

The towering Emirati, 50, was beaming in his gray dishdasha after he introduced down the hammer on the primary United Nations settlement calling for a transition away from fossil fuels.

It ended a Convention of the Events (COP) of contradictions within the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, which is among the world’s greatest producers of crude.

Jaber is CEO of oil big ADNOC in addition to being the UAE’s local weather envoy and minister of trade and superior know-how. He’s additionally chairman of renewable vitality firm Masdar.

His naming as COP28 chief drew conflict-of-interest issues at a time of more and more stark warnings concerning the urgency of transitioning away from hydrocarbons to have a hope of preserving local weather targets in view.

Dozens of US and European lawmakers mentioned Jaber’s oil and fuel hyperlinks ought to disqualify him from the job. A whole lot of local weather marketing campaign teams referred to as for him to stop both COP or ADNOC.

“COP28 is beset by a darkish cloud of — solely warranted — public scepticism,” US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse mentioned on the time.

However Jaber will now declare vindication after presiding over a deal described by UN local weather chief Simon Stiell because the “starting of the top” for fossil fuels.

“Collectively, we’ve got confronted the realities and we’ve got set the world in the appropriate route,” Jaber instructed the cavernous auditorium on the outskirts of Dubai.

“We have now given it a sturdy motion plan to maintain 1.5 inside attain.”

– Excessive stakes –

Earlier than COP, Jaber was in much less jubilant temper, bristling at accusations of a battle of curiosity.

“I am somebody who spent nearly all of his profession in sustainability, in sustainable financial growth and undertaking administration, and renewable vitality,” he instructed AFP in July.

Certainly, he based state-owned renewable vitality firm Masdar a decade earlier than he took the helm of ADNOC with a mandate to “decarbonise” and “future-proof” the fuel and petrol big.

The stakes have been exceptionally excessive for COP28.

Probably the most bold purpose of the 2015 Paris Settlement was to restrict temperature rise to 1.5 levels Celsius above pre-industrial ranges, though UN local weather specialists warned this yr that we’re hurtling in direction of breaching that guardrail within the 2030s.

Throughout months of frenetic journey that noticed him criss-cross the planet, Jaber managed to win over some sceptics.

Harjeet Singh, of the influential coalition Local weather Motion Community Worldwide, mentioned a turning level got here in July, when Jaber wrote that “phasing down demand for, and provide of, all fossil fuels is inevitable and important”.

“He is very easy, he is open to listening,” Singh instructed AFP, although the pair “comply with disagree” on a number of points.

These disagreements included the prominence given to fossil gasoline lobbyists, whose accreditations numbered a report 2,456 in Dubai, based on marketing campaign teams — greater than each nationwide delegation aside from the UAE and Brazil.

– Robust begin –

One other level of distinction was Jaber’s endorsement of controversial carbon seize applied sciences that entice emissions and retailer them completely.

ADNOC made a dedication in July to attain carbon neutrality by 2045 for its personal operations.

However that concentrate on doesn’t embrace emissions produced by the oil and fuel burned by its clients, which account for the overwhelming majority of its carbon footprint.

Jaber’s COP began strongly when he handed a landmark loss and injury fund on day one, when the two-week assembly had barely began.

A number of pledges adopted, together with the UAE’s $30 billion non-public funding fund centered on local weather initiatives in creating international locations.

Talks then went into extra time, after a dispute over together with “phasing out” or “phasing down” fossil fuels, earlier than a compromise was struck and unexpectedly handed on Wednesday.

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