Environment. Hundreds of NGOs denounce the choice of an oil sector boss to chair COP28

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Hundreds of NGOs denounce the choice of a boss from the oil industry to chair the next COP28 in Dubai and demand that these climate meetings be freed from the “polluting influence” of the sector, in a letter addressed to the Secretary General of the UN.

The Emirati Minister of Industry and boss of the oil giant ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, was recently appointed president of the UN climate conference scheduled for the end of the year. .

“This decision threatens the legitimacy and effectiveness of COP28. If we have the slightest hope of tackling the climate crisis, each COP must be free from the polluting influence of the fossil fuel industry”, believe hundreds of associations around the world, such as Climate Action Network, 350.org, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

“It benefits immensely from the climate crisis it is fueling”

The letter dated Thursday is addressed to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who regularly and vigorously criticizes the role of the fossil fuel industry in the climate crisis. Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of UN-Climate, is also the recipient.

“There is no honor in appointing a boss of the fossil industry, which benefits immensely from the climate crisis it is fueling, to oversee the global response to climate change,” say the signatories.

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But this appointment also echoes “a deeper problem: interests linked to fossil fuels are taking over UN-Climate and threatening its credibility”, they add, pointing to the growing number of lobbyists linked to this sector who participate in COPs each year.

Oil and gas already spared at COP27

“2023 must be a year of rupture. Will UN-Climate continue to sabotage its own credibility and continue to avoid tackling the root cause of the climate crisis – fossil fuels? ask the associations. “Or will she continue to give her leaders a seat to chair the table? “, she asks in conclusion.

Simon Stiell recently pointed out to theAFP that the choice of Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber was “solely in the hands” of the United Arab Emirates. The holding of the COP in this oil country “gives us the opportunity to put some difficult issues on the table”, he said.

At the last COP in Egypt last November, a demand led by India and supported by other countries to phase out all fossil fuels was cut short. Coal alone has been targeted since the Glasgow COP in 2021 but still not oil and gas.

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