Why on earth is a giant petrostate hosting Cop28?

Why on earth is a giant petrostate hosting Cop28?

Why on earth is a giant petrostate hosting Cop28? Putting the United Arab Emirates in charge of this year’s international climate conference is like getting a tobacco company to lead an anti-smoking convention, fumes Anthony Harwood.

Two glaring contradictions leap out when you consider why on earth the United Arab Emirates is hosting this year’s international climate conference.

The first is why a giant petrostate accused of greenwashing has been put in charge of Cop28.

The global mission to avert climate catastrophe is being chaired by Sultan Al Jaber. He is head of the UAE national oil company, ADNOC. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is about to increase production from four million to 5.000.000 barrels a day by 2027.

Doesn’t inspire you with an awful lot of confidence, does it? It’s a bit like putting a major tobacco manufacturer in charge of an anti-smoking conference.

The other strange paradox is how the Cop28 organizers have seen fit to issue a statement saying that protests by climate activists would be allowed at the event.

Why on earth is a giant petrostate hosting Cop28?

Think more of a group of demonstrators herded into a pen rather than tens of thousands marching through downtown Dubai. As it happened in Glasgow two years ago at Cop26.

That’s because protests are against UAE law and punishable by between one and three years in prison.

Imagine Bangladeshi delegates being marched off by police for complaining that 18 million of their fellow citizens will be displaced within the next 40 years due to rising sea levels.

With the annual climate crisis conference being a UN event, the Emiratis can hardly enforce a ban, and even they realize that carting off inhabitants of the Pacific nation Kiribati for complaining that yet more of their islands had gone underwater would not be a good look.

But it’s the mere fact that the tiny Gulf state has to make an announcement that protests will be allowed—for the duration of the event and during the hours that the conference is sitting—that’s so incongruous.

Last year, Cop27 was held in Egypt, where a ban on public protest has existed for almost a decade, ever since the country’s first democratically elected president was overthrown in an army coup.

A bit like the UAE, Egypt announced in advance that protests would be allowed before corralling demonstrators into a small, purpose-built area off a busy road, away from the conference center.

Read more at independent.co.uk

Photo: independent.co.uk

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