This year’s climate summit is being taken over

Jack Bond, opinion editor, is a senior English major from Marion

Every year over 140 nations meet to discuss their progress and plans for dealing with global warming. This year’s COP (Conference of Parties), COP28, will be held from Nov. 30 – Dec. 12, and will be headed by Sultan Al Jaber.

Jaber is the Climate Envoy of the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s top oil selling countries. He is also the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), a company worth roughly $15.28 billion. 

So why is a CEO of an oil company presiding over a summit to discuss climate change? Well, Jaber is not only CEO of an oil company, but also Masdar, a company dedicated to renewable energy projects.

Masdar is, according to their website, “a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable development.” They back up this claim with the various projects they’ve built around the world. With over 61 projects ranging from wind farms to solar farms, it’s hard to disagree. 

Despite his position as a leader in renewable energy, many climate activists have called this a blatant take-over of the COP by the oil industry. Some have even called on Jaber to quit his job as an oil company CEO, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Jaber’s main argument for continuing his oil company is that the phasing out of fossil fuel cannot be done cold turkey. It has to be done gradually, and only after we have built a sufficient power structure to support the transition to renewable energy.

However, if he were truly committed to sustainable energy, he would at the very least be moving towards the disassemblement of his oil company. Instead, ADNOC continues to grow, with the amount of fuel sold increasing by 5.6% from 2020 to 2021. 

Jaber is a businessman first and foremost. His prime interest will be to protect his cash cow by any means possible. What better way to do it than by taking over a conference that determines his company’s future?

Even Masdar, although doing great things, is nothing more than a PR move. It only exists to say “I’m not just destroying the climate, I’m helping in a way!” It is a tool to get himself the position of heading COP28.

If we’re going to make genuine progress in dealing with climate change, we cannot allow things like this to happen. We cannot allow someone with such a jarring conflict of interest to preside over something that is crucial to the survival of the planet. Unless Jaber shows genuine dedication to getting rid of fossil fuels, he should not be allowed to head COP28.

Categories: Opinion

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