A recent opinion poll rocked the world of the Big Oil lobbyists in their proverbial thousand-dollar suits and alligator shoes. The Pew Research Center found that 37% of Americans now feel that fighting the climate crisis should be the number one priority of President Joe Biden and Congress, and another 34% put it among their highest priorities, even if they didn’t rank it first. Companies like ExxonMobil and countries like Saudi Arabia have tried since the 1990s to gaslight the public into thinking climate change was either a total fantasy or that the burning of coal, natural gas, and petroleum wasn’t causing it. Having lost that battle, the fossil-fuel lobbyists have now fallen back on Plan B. They want to convince you that Big Oil is itself swinging into action in a major way to transition to — yes! — green energy.
The hosting of the recent COP28 climate summit by the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s leading petroleum exporters, exemplified exactly this puffery and, sadly enough, it’s just one instance of this greenwashing world of ours. Everywhere you look, you’ll note other versions, but it certainly was a classic example. Emirati businessman Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber served as president of the Dubai-based 28th Conference of Parties — countries that had signed onto the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. While his green bona fides include his role as chairman of the board of the UAE’s green energy firm Masdar, controversy swirled around him because he’s also the CEO of ADNOC, the UAE’s national petroleum company. Worse yet, he’s committed to expanding the oil and gas production of his postage-stamp-sized nation of one million citizens (and eight million guest workers) in a big-time fashion. He wants ADNOC to increase its daily oil production from its present four million barrels a day to five million by 2027, even though climate scientists stress that global fossil-fuel production must be reduced by 3% annually through 2050 if the world is to avoid the most devastating consequences of climate change.
Read more: counterpunch.org