The man who runs a state-run oil firm in the United Arab Emirates that pumps out four million barrels per day will lead COP28’s climate talks.
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber was named the president of the event, which will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates at end-of-the year.
He is close to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the leader of the country, and is also the head Abu Dhabi National Oil Company which is trying to increase oil production.
The oil revenues fund the production of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, which is what the annual negotiations aim to limit.
But Mr Al Jaber is also an expert in renewable energy. He was once planning a project to build an entirely car-free, carbon-neutral city near Abu Dhabi, worth $22 billion (PS18billion).
After the 2008 financial crisis, the plan was rescinded.
He is also chairman of Masdar, an energy company that has operations in over 40 countries.
The announcement was made by the state-run WAM news agency. Mr Al Jaber said that it would be a crucial year in a critical decade to take climate action. With a strong sense and ambition, the UAE approaches COP28 next winter.
“We will adopt a pragmatic, realistic, and solutions-oriented approach to achieving transformative progress in climate change and low-carbon economic growth.”
WAM said that the UAE had invested more than 50 billion dollars (PS41bn), in renewable energy projects in 70 countries. Plans to increase this figure by at least 50 billion over the next decade.
According to Global SWF research, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund has invested $3.9 billion (PS3.2 Billion) in clean energy over the past five years. It also invested $9.8 billion (PS8 Bn) in oil and gas projects.
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Mr Al Jaber will replace Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shamry, who was criticized for his handling last year’s event. Alok Sharma was the organizer of the event in Glasgow in 2021 and was widely praised for it.
The Conference of the Parties is the country hosting the UN negotiations. It nominates someone to chair the talks. This person is usually a member of the local government, or an experienced diplomat who can steer discussions and produce results.
COP28 will be held at Dubai Expo City between 30 November and 12 December.