Fossil fuels take over Cop28

The United Arab Emirates will launch its presidency of global climate talks on Thursday, with the head of its national oil company likely to be given the leading role.

Sultan Al Jaber has served as climate envoy to the country, and is chief of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), the world’s twelfth-largest oil company by production, and is hotly tipped to take on the pivotal role of president of the talks.

He is also minister of industry and advanced technology for UAE, and head of the Masdar company, which focuses on renewable energy.

The Cop28 UN climate summit, which will take place from 30 November in Dubai, will be a crucial conference, determining whether the world can get on track to tackle the climate crisis. This year, nations must conduct a “global stocktake” assessing the current state of climate action and progress on fulfilling the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.

While some countries have submitted national plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are in line with the ambition in the Paris agreement of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, many of the world’s biggest emitters have failed to do so, imperilling the climate goals.

One of the roles of the presidency will be to hold such recalcitrant governments to account, but many observers fear that UAE, as a major oil producer and with close ties to other producers such as Saudi Arabia, will be reluctant to take them on.

The paper promises of Paris never were achievable. At any rate:

No ‘credible pathway’ to 1.5C limit, UNEP warns

" Despite Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) promises made by governments in favour of reducing their carbon footprint, pledges made since the last climate summit in Glasgow in 2021 will lead to cuts of less than one per cent of projected 2030 greenhouse gas emissions, according to UNEP."

And from Climate Action Tracker:

Of the 40 indicators assessed, none are on track to achieve their 2030 targets. Instead:

  • Six indicators are “off track,” moving in the right direction at a promising but insufficient speed.
  • 21 indicators are “well off track,” heading in the right direction but well below the required pace.
  • Five indicators are headed in the wrong direction entirely.
  • Eight have insufficient data to track progress.