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THE UN’S forthcoming Cop28 climate summit has been “comprehensively captured by the fossil fuel lobby to serve its vested interests,” Amnesty International warned today.
The human rights body sounded the alarm following reports that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is hosting the forthcoming summit, is using it as an opportunity to plan international deals for yet more oil and gas exploitation around the world.
Leaked briefing documents obtained by the independent Centre for Climate Reporting, and seen by the BBC, were prepared by the UAE’s Cop28 team for meetings with at least 27 foreign governments ahead of the summit and included “talking points” for future gas and oil exploitation.
They reveal the president of Cop28, Sultan al-Jaber, as laying the groundwork for deals on behalf of the UAE.
The sultan is also chief executive of the UAE’s state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), one of the 10 largest oil and gas producers.
Talking points included evaluation of “liquefied natural gas opportunities” in Mozambique, Canada and Australia.
The documents also suggest telling a Colombian minister that Adnoc “stands ready” to support Colombia to develop its fossil-fuel resources.
And they reveal “talking points” for 13 other countries proposing new fossil fuel projects.
Amnesty International’s climate adviser Ann Harrison said: “We are already experiencing a climate and human rights catastrophe caused by fossil fuels.
“Yet since Sultan al-Jaber was made the Cop28 president-designate in January, Adnoc has unveiled ambitious expansion plans, entirely incompatible with protecting the climate and safeguarding people’s rights to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”
Green campaign groups including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace International also condemned the revelations.
Greenpeace International policy co-ordinator Kaisa Kosonen said: “If the allegations are true, this is totally unacceptable and a real scandal.
“The climate summit leader should be focused on advancing climate solutions impartially, not backroom deals that are fuelling the crisis.
“This is exactly the kind of conflict of interest we feared when the CEO of an oil company was appointed to the role.
“We have all the solutions we need to transition to renewable energy, but it won’t happen fast enough if governments fail to regulate fossil fuels out of the way.
“Cop is an opportunity to secure our survival, not to strike business deals that fuel the crisis.”
Jamie Peters, head of climate at Friends of the Earth, said: “Using this crucial climate summit to make gas and oil deals would be a complete betrayal of the process.
“With time running out to prevent catastrophic climate change, the world’s leading scientists agree that we urgently need to end our reliance on fossil fuels — not develop more of them.
“People want to see action on climate change, but they are being badly let down by politicians’ short-termism and failure to stand up to the vested interests of the oil and gas industry.”
Scottish Greens climate spokesman Mark Ruskell MSP said the plan for deals at Cop28 “would be an outrageous abuse of the world’s largest climate summit.”
He said: “That the world’s flagship climate event has been hijacked by big business is nothing new, it is depressingly evident just looking at many of the sponsors.
“But using it to lobby for the very same oil and gas deals being argued against by delegates in the rooms next door, including those nations most at risk from global warming, is simply weaponising it against them.
“We need an end date to fossil fuels, not secretive backroom deals, and we need to make polluters pay with the launch of a new loss and damage fund.”
The UAE team did not deny using Cop28 meetings for business talks, and said “private meetings are private,” the BBC reported.
Cop28 runs from Thursday November 30 to Tuesday December 12 and brings together more than 190 states and other parties to address the climate crisis.
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