COP28 president secretly used climate summit role to push oil trade with foreign government officials

COP28 president secretly used climate summit role to push oil trade with foreign government officials

Leaked documents reveal COP28 president and UAE national oil company boss Sultan Al Jaber’s plans to discuss boosting fossil fuel business in bilateral meetings about the climate summit..

The United Arab Emirates’ COP28 president, Sultan Al Jaber, sought to lobby on oil and gas deals during meetings with foreign governments about the UN climate summit, according to a cache of internal records leaked by a whistleblower.

Al Jaber, who has continued his role as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) despite calls for him to step down during his COP presidency, has held scores of meetings with senior government officials, royalty and business leaders from around the world in recent months. The COP28 team has quietly planned to use this access as an opportunity to increase exports of Adnoc’s oil and gas, briefings prepared ahead of those meetings obtained by the Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) reveal.

The leaked documents include more than 150 pages of briefings prepared by the COP28 team for meetings held by Al Jaber between July and October of this year, which CCR has decided to publish in part below. They offer an extraordinary insight into the private discussions between the COP president and prominent government figures attending the UN summit in Dubai, which starts later this week.

CCR, working alongside the BBC, verified the authenticity of the documents leaked by the whistleblower, who came forward on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Our investigation confirmed that on at least one occasion a nation followed up on commercial discussions brought up in a meeting with Al Jaber; a source with knowledge of discussions also told CCR that Adnoc’s business interests were allegedly raised during a meeting with another country.

But it is not clear on exactly how many occasions Al Jaber and his colleagues discussed the talking points in COP28 meetings with foreign governments. Briefings prepared ahead of meetings suggest he planned to raise commercial interests with almost 30 countries. More than a dozen of them contacted by the BBC and CCR did not respond to requests for comment. Several countries denied discussing commercial interests with Al Jaber despite the talking points appearing on briefings prepared ahead of the meetings; five others said that no meetings took place.

Prof Michael Jacobs of Sheffield University, who is an expert on climate politics, said the COP28 president’s actions looked “breathtakingly hypocritical”.

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