- An oil company CEO will lead the United Nations' annual climate change conference in Dubai.
- Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber has been hotly contested as the COP28 president due to his role at a major oil company.
- Al Jaber denies allegations that he planned to use the climate meetings to advance oil and gas deals.
Concerned climate activists were understandably upset over the United Nations' decision to place Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber in charge of the 2023 COP28 climate talks. The COP28 president, a native of the United Arab Emirates, is also the CEO of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, or ADNOC.
Ahead of the climate talks, the BBC and the Center for Climate Reporting collaborated to leak briefing documents implicating Al Jaber for just what climate organizations feared. The documents showed Al Jaber planned to use his position as COP president to facilitate potential deals with other nations over fossil fuels. Here's what's happening with COP28.
Reports that Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber stepped down from ADNOC are false.
In the days leading up to the global climate summit, inflammatory media reports began to surface, alleging that he planned to broker fossil fuel agreements during the conference, per Reuters.
Al Jaber denied the allegations, stating: "These allegations are false, not true, incorrect, are not accurate. And it's an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency."
Then, just after Al Jaber's response, various news outlets reported that Al Jaber was resigning as CEO of the oil company ADNOC, following his purported agenda to make fossil fuel deals during COP28.
However, The Associated Press reported that this news was fake, explaining that the team received a fake press release stating that Al Jaber was resigning as CEO of the oil company ADNOC. The outlet confirmed with COP28 that this was indeed a false claim, and that the oil executive would not give up his role.
Euronews also confirmed with COP28 that the press release about Al Jaber's supposed resignation from the oil CEO role was false. A spokesperson for COP28 reiterated what Al Jaber concluded about the fake news: "This press release was not issued by the COP28 team, has no basis in truth, and must be entirely disregarded as fake news.
TIME reported that the leaked documents came too late for Al Jaber to resign as COP28 president, with COP28 slated to kick off on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023. The magazine said that Al Jaber now is under "enormous pressure to deliver a deal at the talks that acknowledges the urgency of cutting fossil fuels, including oil and gas." It will be a major challenge for him to balance the expectations of climate leaders with his own country and other oil-producing countries.
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber
CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)
Net worth: $5.89 Million
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber was appointed as chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in 2016, per Boycott COP28 UAE. One source, peopleai.com, estimates his net worth at $5.89 million.
According to The Associated Press, he has supported "tens of billions of dollars spent or pledged toward renewable energy." However, ADNOC is working to increase crude oil production, which flies in the face of climate goals of reducing carbon emissions and dependence on nonrenewable fuel sources.