Climate activists alarmed after UAE appoints oil CEO as president of COP28

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP
The appointment of an oil CEO has caused consternation among environmentalists
The appointment of an oil CEO has caused consternation among environmentalists   -  Copyright  Ebrahim Noroozi/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.

Environmentalists are criticising a decision by the United Arab Emirates to name Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber as the president of this year's COP28 climate talks.

He's the chief of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and will be the first CEO to take on the role at the UN Summit.

In a statement carried on state media he said, "We will bring a pragmatic, realistic and solutions-oriented approach that delivers transformative progress for climate and for low carbon economic growth."

But activists are warning the involvement of a major figure from the oil industry could slow progress in the fight against global warming.

Jaber's appointment "poses an outrageous conflict of interest", said Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International.

"The ongoing menace of fossil fuel lobbyists at the UN climate talks has consistently weakened outcomes of the climate conference but this takes it to another dangerous and unprecedented level."

COP27, held in Egypt in November, concluded with the adoption of a hotly contested text on aid to poor countries affected by climate change, but failed to set new ambitions for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

The UAE's hosting of this year's edition, in Dubai in November and December, has provoked concern from activists urging a shift away from oil, which produces greenhouse gases.