Cop28 host UAE tried to weaken global shipping’s climate ambition

Cop28 host UAE tried to weaken global shipping’s climate ambition

Campaigners said the UAE’s opposition to zero emissions by 2050 was “alarming” given the country will host Cop28 climate talks in December

The United Arab Emirates tried to weaken global shipping’s climate target last week, sparking fears that it will lack ambition as host of the Cop28 climate summit.

According to four sources in the room, the UAE was one of around a dozen countries which argued against more ambitious climate targets at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) last week.

Their representative to the IMO Mohamed Khamis Saeed AlKaabi joined nations like China, India and Brazil in opposing a 2050 zero emissions target and pushing for the target to be to “aim for net zero, preferably by mid-century, and to phase-out emissions before the end of the century”. He also opposed setting interim targets for 2030 and 2040.

A spokesperson for the UAE’s Cop28 presidency told Climate Home that IMO negotiations were outside of their scope but “the Cop28 UAE presidency sees a substantial and important role for industries, including shipping, to deliver action to keep 1.5 alive”.

In a seeming rebuke to their negotiator’s oppostion to a 2030 target, the spokesperson added that the Cop28 presidency echoes the IPCC scientists’ finding that carbon emissions must fall 43% between 2019 and 2030.

The ships that carry goods and people around the world burn large amounts of dirty fuel. The industry is responsible for 3% of global emissions. If it was a nation, it would be the fifth most polluting in the world, ahead of Japan.

Like international air travel, international shipping is not mentioned in the Paris Agreement and is not covered by most countries’ climate plans.

Photos:, Kim Kyung-Hoon/AFP via Getty Images

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