BERLIN (AP) — A senior United Arab Emirates official says the Gulf nation wants the U.N. climate summit it’s hosting later this year to deliver “game-changing results” for international efforts to curb global warming, but doing so will require having the fossil fuel industry at the table.
Environmental campaigners have slammed the presence of oil and gas lobbyists at previous rounds of talks, warning that their interests are opposed to the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions — caused to a large degree by the burning of fossil fuels. Last month scores of U.S. and European lawmakers called for the summit’s designated chair, Sultan al-Jaber, to be replaced over his links to the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
The issue complicates already-delicate negotiations ahead of the Nov. 30 – Dec. 12 meeting in Dubai, known as COP28. Preliminary talks starting next week in Bonn, Germany, will show whether the incoming UAE presidency can overcome skepticism among parties and civil society groups about its ability to shepherd almost 200 nations toward a landmark deal.
“Our leadership have been very clear to me and our team and our president that they don’t want just another COP that’s incremental,” said Majid al-Suwaidi, who as director-general of the summit plays a key role in the diplomatic negotiations. “They want a COP that is going to deliver real, big, game-changing results because they see, just like all of us, that we’re not on track to achieve the goals of Paris.”
Governments agreed eight years ago in the French capital to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) — ideally no more than 1.5C (2.7F). With average global temperatures already about 1.2C (2.2F) above pre-industrial levels, experts say the window to meet the more ambitious target is closing fast and even the less stringent goal would be missed if emissions aren’t slashed sharply soon.
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