Brilliant: a Cop28 to save the planet – staged by oil barons who imperil it

Brilliant: a Cop28 to save the planet – staged by oil barons who imperil it

The UAE will have its moment of glory while the UK press worries more about petrostate money buying the Telegraph.

petrostate hosting a climate conference” sounds like a situation shouted out at an improv night, after they’ve done the ones about a fox hosting a henhouse and Jimmy Savile hosting Jim’ll Fix It. Arguably, though, the fact the president of this week’s Cop28 climate conference in Dubai is also the CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil firm crosses the fine line between mirthless joke and extinction-level distress signal. Happily for Sultan Al Jaber, this metaphorical flare will be obscured by all the actual flares caused by oil companies still cheerily burning waste gas across the Gulf. Maybe the various Emirati governments will order the oil firms to lay off this toxic practice – ineffectually outlawed by the UAE 20 years ago – for the duration of the conference, a bit like the Chinese government ordered many Beijing factories to shut down during the 2008 Olympics so that a pea-souper didn’t prevent enjoyment of the dressage. If not, international dignitaries flying into Cop28 on private planes will be able to look out of their windows at the oilfields and consider how nice it is to be welcomed by a roaring fire.

To the jolly old UAE, then, which can own our football clubs but not our newspapers, which should rather be squired by the right kind of meddling foreigners (Rupert Murdoch), criminal foreigners (Conrad Black), morality-vacuum island fort dwellers (the Barclays) or basic non-doms (the Rothermeres). Yes, the week’s other Emirati plotline is the hokey-cokey over the sale of the Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Spectator titles, which look like they could be at risk of effectively going to an investment fund backed by the Abu Dhabi ruling family.

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