Carbon Colonialism, COP28 and the Climate Crisis

Carbon Colonialism, COP28 and the Climate Crisis

By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

Dubai, UAE – More than 100,000 people have descended on the United Nations climate summit here in Dubai, making it the largest ever. The goal of COP28, the 28th annual “Conference of Parties” to the climate negotiations, is to halt catastrophic climate change. As the impacts of the climate emergency become increasingly frequent and destructive, from droughts, hurricanes and typhoons, wildfires, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels and more, problems with the UN’s climate negotiation process itself become magnified; oil and gas producing nations and corporations that profit from fossil fuels dominate, delaying meaningful progress.

Exhibit One: COP28 is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates, the seventh largest oil producing nation on the planet, and the COP Presidency is currently held by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the CEO of the UAE’s state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

The decision to have the head of an oil company running the climate change negotiations has been called Orwellian. This week, The Guardian reported on comments Al Jaber made on November 21st during a live, online event hosted by Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and the former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.

Robinson asked Al Jaber if he would call not for a “phase down” of fossil fuels, but for a complete “phase out,” which science says is needed to limit the global temperature rise over pre-industrial levels to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Al Jaber testily replied,

“There is no science out there or no scenario out there that says that the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5…Show me a roadmap for a phaseout of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.”

The Guardian story came on the heels of another from the Centre for Climate Reporting based on leaked documents containing background briefs on officials from several countries coming to COP28, to help the UAE secure oil and gas deals from them.

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