Controversy surrounds climate negotiations as oil group CEO appointed COP28 president

Controversy surrounds climate negotiations as oil group CEO appointed COP28 president

Representatives from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Bonn, Germany, from June 5 to 15, to prepare for the December climate conference. At the heart of the debates is the end of fossil fuels and the creation of a new fund for loss and damage.

A technical session to prepare for the world climate conference is held every year in Bonn, Germany. No political decisions are expected at this 28th installment of the meeting since no heads of state or ministers are making the trip. But this year, the interim climate negotiations, from June 5 to 15, attended by representatives of nearly 200 countries, are likely to be particularly closely scrutinized. First of all, because they are intended to prepare the ground for COP28, a crucial major event to be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December. Secondly, they open against a backdrop of high tension and extreme mistrust of the conference chairman, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Never before has the chairman of an oil group – or even a company – been responsible for orchestrating climate negotiations. This double role raises questions, given that global warming is mainly caused by the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). In an unprecedented move, more than 130 European lawmakers and members of the US Congress called for his resignation and to “limit the influence” of the fossil fuel industry in climate circles, in a letter published on May 23. Nearly 2,000 NGOs had already made a similar request. “The credibility of the presidency, and of the COP in general, is called into question by such a conflict of interest,” warned Gaïa Febvre, head of international policy at the Climate Action Network.

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