Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

Al Jaber COP28

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

Credentials

Background

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Ph.D., is a minister of state in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Cabinet and managing director and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).3About the GCEO & MD,” ADNOC website. Archived April 27, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DsuiH

According to his profile at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), Al Jaber serves as UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology. He is also a member of the UAE Federal Cabinet, and the UAE’s “special envoy for climate change.”4His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,” United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ya8JL

“In his role as Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Dr. Al Jaber oversees efforts to further expand the industrial development of the UAE, and in particular promote in country value, leveraging technology as a key enabler, as we enter the Fourth Industrial Age,” the MoIAT website noted in its bio for Al Jaber.5His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,” United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ya8JL He is also managing director and group CEO of ADNOC.6About the GCEO & MD,” ADNOC website. Archived April 27, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/DsuiH

“In November 2020, H.E. Dr. Sultan was appointed as the UAE’s special envoy for climate change, a role he previously served in from 2010 to 2016, while spearheading the UAE’s clean energy agenda at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s Abu Dhabi’s [sic] pioneering renewable energy initiative.”7His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,” United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ya8JL

According to the UAE ministry’s website, Al Jaber’s other roles included chairman of Emirates Development Bank, a role he was appointed to in July 2020. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, on the board of Emirates Global Aluminum, “the fifth largest aluminum company in the world.” He also served as chairman of Abu Dhabi Ports Company from 2009 to 2019.8His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,” United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ya8JL

Al Jaber was appointed to preside over COP28, the UNFCCC international climate negotiations held in Dubai, UAE, in late 2023. However, he will retain his roles as the head of the UAE’s state-owned oil company ADNOC, and its renewable energy business.9Fiona Harvey. “UAE’s Cop28 president will keep role as head of national oil company,” The Guardian, January 13, 2023. Archived April 24, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/8cYhf The appointment concerned environmental groups, with some comparing the appointment to “invit[ing] arm dealers to lead peace talks.”10Dana Drugmand. “UAE Selects Fossil Fuel Exec to Lead COP28,” DeSmog, January 12, 2023.

According to 2009 FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) documents on file at the U.S. Department of Justice, the PR Firm Edelman had worked with Sultan Al Jaber and Masdar at that time. The FARA package includes press releases on UAE projects involving Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), as well as natural-gas-produced hydrogen combined with CCS.11“Supplemental Statement” (PDF), U.S. Department of Justice. Registration No. 3657, for period ending March 31, 2009. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The filing includes a short biography of Al Jaber, noting some additional positions he has held including his role as an advisor to Mubadala Development Company, where his responsibilities “included direct project origination and execution in the energy, industry and utilities sectors, as well as relationship management with key multinational companies and government institutions.”12“Supplemental Statement” (PDF), U.S. Department of Justice. Registration No. 3657, for period ending March 31, 2009. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The profile adds:

“Dr Al Jaber is a board member of ALDAR Properties PJSC, the Young Arab Leaders Organization and the Advanced Technology Investment Company. He is a steering committee member of the REN21 and a member of the Advisory Board of the College of Business and Economy at the UAE University. He is also a member of the executive committee of the designated National Authority in the UAE.”13“Supplemental Statement” (PDF), U.S. Department of Justice. Registration No. 3657, for period ending March 31, 2009. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

He also served as executive marketing director for the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing based in Los Angeles, California. He was also a board member of ALDAR Properties PJSC, the Young Arab Leaders Organization, and the Advanced Technology Investment Company.14“Supplemental Statement” (PDF), U.S. Department of Justice. Registration No. 3657, for period ending March 31, 2009. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Al Jaber & the COP28 Climate Negotiations

Al Jaber is the President-Designate of the COP28 summit hosted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2023.15COP28 president: world needs business mindset to tackle climate crisis,” The Guardian, April 7, 2023. Archived April 8, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.is/MuyAl The summit is scheduled to take place November 30 to December 12 in Dubai. A January 12, 2023, press release announced UAE’s President had chosen Al Jaber for the role. The release notes that Al Jaber is the first CEO to ever hold the role of COP President.16(Press Release). “Following presidential directive, Mansour bin Zayed appoints COP28 UAE President-Designate,” Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, January 12, 2023. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/PnxE1

Al Jaber’s appointment concerned environmentalists given his role as the CEO of ADNOC.17Dana Drugmand. “UAE Selects Fossil Fuel Exec to Lead COP28,” DeSmog, January 12, 2023.

ADNOC produced 2.7 millions barrels of oil per day in 2021 and has aimed to roughly double output by 2027.18Navin Singh Khadka. “COP28: Why has an oil boss been chosen to head climate summit?BBC News, January 13, 2023. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0J8bW According to a 2021 ADNOC press release, the company announced “record investments worth up to almost $6 billion (AED22 billion) to enable drilling growth as it boosts its crude oil production capacity to 5 million barrels per day (mmbpd) by 2030.”19(Press Release). “ADNOC Announces Record $6 billion Investments to Enable Drilling Growth,” ADNOC, November 16, 2021. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/tB9XU

Data from OPEC’s Annual Statistical Bulletin shows UAE’s crude oil production at 2.72 million barrels per day in 2021:20Oil data: upstream,” Annual Statistical Bulletin, 2022. Accessed April 2023. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

Source: OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2022

“The appointment of Sultan al-Jaber … risks jeopardising the entire UN climate progress. We are extremely concerned that it will open the floodgates for greenwashing and oil and gas deals to keep exploiting fossil fuels,” said Zeina Khalil Hajj, head of global campaigning and organizing at 350.org.21(Press Release). “350.org Responds to Appointment of Sultan al-Jaber as President of COP28 Climate Conference,” Common Dreams, January 12, 2023. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/jnyAN

DeSmog reported the UAE and ADNOC were “criticised for promoting oil and gas as a clean source of energy, and for backing ‘false solutions’ such as carbon capture technology” during their attendance at the UNFCCC COP27 climate summit in Egypt.22Adam Barnett. “UAE Promotes Its State Oil Company at COP27,DeSmog, November 18, 2022.

The Guardian reported the UAE also used PR companies and lobbying agencies to “launder its international reputation” prior to the COP27 conference.23Ruth Michaelson and Patrick Greefield. “UAE using role as Cop28 host to lobby on its climate reputation,” The Guardian, November 16, 2022. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/sNPNZ

“It is the equivalent of appointing the CEO of a cigarette company to oversee a conference on cancer cures,” said Zeina Khalil Hajj, head of global campaigning for 350.org, BBC News reported.24Navin Singh Khadka. “COP28: Why has an oil boss been chosen to head climate summit?BBC News, January 13, 2023. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Knp9B

“We are extremely concerned that it will open floodgates for greenwashing, and oil and gas deals to keep exploiting fossil fuels. COP28 cannot turn into an expo for the fossil fuel industry,” Khalil Hajj added.

Alice Harrison, fossil fuels campaign leader at Global Witness, said in a statement:25Dana Drugmand. “UAE Selects Fossil Fuel Exec to Lead COP28,” DeSmog, January 12, 2023. 26(Press Release). “Appointment of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company CEO as climate talks President a ‘blatant conflict of interest’,” Global Witness, January 12, 2023. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GtYO6

“You wouldn’t invite arm dealers to lead peace talks. So why let oil executives lead climate talks?”

The Financial Times reported speakers at a recent climate and health conference in the UAE were told “not to protest or ‘criticise corporations’ … alarming campaigners ahead of the country hosting the UN’s COP28 climate summit this year.”27Aime Williams and Attracta Mooney. “UAE climate event organisers warn speakers not to ‘criticise corporations’,” Financial Times, April 1, 2023. Archived April 2, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3vRj9

The event was organised by Forecasting Healthy Futures, a group of health and technology organizations convened by Malaria No More, The Financial Times reported.28Aime Williams and Attracta Mooney. “UAE climate event organisers warn speakers not to ‘criticise corporations’,” Financial Times, April 1, 2023. Archived April 2, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3vRj9

“According to the event’s website, seed funding to FHF was provided by Reaching the Last Mile, a public health and development group with ties to UAE president Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan,” The Financial Times added, also noting:29Aime Williams and Attracta Mooney. “UAE climate event organisers warn speakers not to ‘criticise corporations’,” Financial Times, April 1, 2023. Archived April 2, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3vRj9

“Forecasting Healthy Futures said the group did not receive ‘guidance’ from Reaching the Last Mile ‘or any other UAE individual or institution’.

“It added: ‘In the interest of protecting summit speakers and panellists from any actual or perceived violation of UAE law, and given the expected online coverage of the event, with the potential for misquoting or mischaracterisation, we erred on the side of caution by independently issuing guidance covering the most broad interpretation of UAE’s penal code governing defamation.’30“Aime Williams and Attracta Mooney. “UAE climate event organisers warn speakers not to ‘criticise corporations’,” Financial Times, April 1, 2023. Archived April 2, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/3vRj9

UAE Supplying Russian Oil

The Wall Street Journal reported in April 2023 that “Since Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine cut off Russia from many of its established trading partners, state companies from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have stepped in to take advantage of discounted prices for Russian products, according to oil executives and industry analysts.”31Benoit Faucon and Summer Said. “Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. Scoop Up Russian Oil Products at Steep Discounts,” The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2023. Arhived April 24, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hf1W8

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Some of Russia’s discounted oil cargoes are scooped up by Emirati state-run companies, including five shipments of gasoline to the Dubai-based Emirates National Oil Co. since December. In November, a cargo of 700,000 barrels of Arctic crude oil loaded by Russian government giant Gazprom PJSC was delivered to a refinery of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., which is owned by the emirate, Kpler data shows.32Benoit Faucon and Summer Said. “Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. Scoop Up Russian Oil Products at Steep Discounts,” The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2023. Arhived April 24, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hf1W8

The article noted that “An Emirati official said the country abides by United Nations sanctions and has ‘robust processes in place to deal with sanctioned entities.’

‘The U.A.E. will continue to trade openly and honestly with its international partners,’ the official said.”

Former Chair of National Media Council

Al Jaber was chairman of the UAE’s National Media Council from 2016 to 2020, according to his profile at the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology.33His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,” United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ya8JL A profile at the Atlantic Council lists him as chair starting in 2015.34Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP 28 President-Designate; Managing Director and Group CEO, ADNOC,Atlantic Council. Archived April 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/P8cwC

“Dr. Al Jaber served as Chairman of the UAE National Media Council from 2016 to 2020, where he led an organizational and governance restructure, while guiding the media sector’s development as a responsive and responsible contributor to news and knowledge sharing in the digital and social media age,” his profile at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology reads.35His Excellency Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber,” United Arab Emirates Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Ya8JL

According to a 2020 U.S. Department of State Report on Human Rights Practices in the UAE, the government “influenced privately owned media through the National Media Council (NMC), which directly oversaw all media content.” The report noted:362020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: United Arab Emirates,” U.S. Department of State. Archived January 7, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gOdAL

“By law the NMC, whose chair the president appoints, licenses and censors all publications, including private association publications. In practice, domestic and foreign publications were censored to remove criticism of the government, ruling families, or friendly governments. Online content was often removed without transparency or judicial oversight. Domain hosts or administrators are liable if their websites are used to ‘prompt riot, hatred, racism, sectarianism, or damage the national unity or social
peace or prejudice the public order and public morals.’ Censorship also extends to statements that ‘threaten social stability’ and materials considered pornographic, excessively violent, or derogatory to Islam.” The report added, “In January, Dubai’s Criminal Court sentenced an Arab man to three months’ imprisonment, a significant fine, and deportation for insulting God in messages sent to his wife.”

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) describes itself as a “leading diversified energy group, wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi Government” that was founded in 1971.37Who We Are,” ADNOC. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/337XQ

Al Jaber also runs the state-owned renewable energy company Masdar.38Nadeen Ebrahim and Mohammed Abdelbary. “A major oil exporter is hosting a UN climate summit. Opinions are divided,” CNN, January 16, 2023. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pranh Masdar is part of Mubadala Investment Company (MIC), according to its annual sustainability report.39“Annual Sustainability Report | 2021” (PDF), Masdar, January 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Al Jaber has also been listed as the chair of Abu Dhabi Media, the UAE’s state-owned media company.40(Press Release). “Abu Dhabi Media board restructured,” Emirates 24/7, July 3, 2019. Archived April 27, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/a6Awk

According to a profile of Al Jaber at Bloomberg:41Akshat Rathi. “The $9 Trillion Oil King’s Climate Solution Is His Hand-Picked Oil Exec,” BNN Bloomberg, April 3, 2023. Archived April 27, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/vGvA5

“In his media role, Al Jaber helps maintain strict control on local media and Arabic content partnerships with Sky News and CNN, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions. Several people who have worked at the National, a publication owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s brother, said they believe Al Jaber has tried to influence coverage to manage diplomatic relationships with UAE allies.

A spokesperson for Al Jaber said, “The suggestion of editorial interference is not supported by any evidence.”

Al Jaber’s Family

Al Jaber’s family comes from Umm Al Quwain. According to Bloomberg, in 2011, he married the daughter of “one of the longest-serving oil ministers,” Mana Al Otaiba. In 2013, he became minister of state in 2013.42Akshat Rathi. “The $9 Trillion Oil King’s Climate Solution Is His Hand-Picked Oil Exec,” BNN Bloomberg, April 3, 2023. Archived April 27, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/vGvA5

According to a record of a family visit by the Crown Prince, Ahmad Al Jaber’s father is Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber, his uncle is Isa Al Jaber, and his brothers are Mohammed Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber and Abdulrahman Ahmed Al Jaber.43(Press Release). “Mohamed bin Zayed visits Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber,” Emirates News Agency-WAM, February 20, 2018. Archived March 19, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qGDcG

His brother Mohammed Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber has been the UAE Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan44(Press Release). “Mohamed bin Zayed visits Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber,” Emirates News Agency-WAM, February 20, 2018. Archived March 19, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qGDcG and UAE Ambassador to Moscow. He was awarded “Order of Friendship” by the Russian Foreign Minister for “significant contributions to strengthening UAE-Russian relations.”45UAE ambassador awarded Order of Friendship by Russian government,” The National, April 8, 2023. Archived April 24, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/AbiDs

Al Jaber’s father-in-law, Mana Saeed Al Otaiba, has been an advisor to the UAE President and served as
President of the OPEC Conference
six times between 1971 and 1983, for its 26th, 52nd, 53rd, 54th, 62nd, and 63rd conferences. He is also a former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.46“OPEC 60 years and beyond” (PDF), OPEC Bulletin 8-9, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Stance on Climate Change

April 2023

Al Jaber suggested the world needs a “business mindset” to combat climate change, The Guardian reported.47Fiona Harvey. “Cop28 president: world needs business mindset to tackle climate crisis,” The Guardian, April 7, 2023. Archived April 20, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/MuyAl

“Cop28 is committed to building on the progress made at Cop26 and Cop27 to inject a business mindset, concrete KPIs [key performance indicators, a cornerstone of most commercial strategies] and an ambitious action-oriented agenda,” Al Jaber commented.

October 5, 2022

Al Jaber was quoted by The National claiming “‘Substantial investment’ is required in the hydrocarbons sector to ensure that energy security is maintained.” He said to “focus on capturing carbon, not cancelling production”:

“’We have seen that all progress starts and ends with energy security. And, as the world’s energy leaders, our responsibility in maintaining that energy security has never been more evident,’ Dr Al Jaber said.”

“’Yes, we must all commit to mitigating the impact of global energy supplies, but let’s keep our focus on capturing carbon, not cancelling production.’

“’Let’s hold back emissions, not progress.’”48Continued investment in hydrocarbons crucial to ensure energy security, Dr Al Jaber says,” The National, October 5, 2022. Archived March 6, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/CZH8n

The National is an outlet that was originally state-owned. According to its website, it “launched as part of Abu Dhabi Media” and was later acquired by International Media Investments where it claimed to be “relaunched as a private entity in 2017”:49ABOUT US,” The National. Archived April 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ezWYt

Al Jaber is notably a director50THE NATIONAL FZ LLC: Company number FC039296,” Gov.UK. Archived April 27, 2023 of The National FZ LLC, which appears to be the parent company for The National as it holds the paper’s copyright and trademark.51CONTACT US,” The National. Archived April 27, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/KoF4B

DeSmog has reported on how many environmental groups consider Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to be a “‘false solution’ that serves primarily to allow oil and gas companies to appear to be taking climate change seriously – while continuing largely with business as usual.”

Key Quotes

November 21, 2023

“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5,” The New York Times reported52Climate Summit Leader Tries to Calm Uproar Over a Remark on Fossil Fuels,” The New York Times, December 4, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lckEC Al Jaber said during a panel discussion from SHE Changes Climate.53UNITE FOR CLIMATE SOLUTIONS SUMMIT,” YouTube video uploaded by user “SHE Changes Climate,” November 21, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. The Guardian first reported on the comments on December 3, 2023.54Damian Carrington and Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels,” The Guardian, December 3, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/u6mgO

May 3, 2023

Al Jaber said the following in a joint press conference with Annalena Baerbock, Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs for Germany, at the end of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin:55“#info: starting at +/- 13.45 pm CEST you can follow the joint press conference of Foreign Minister @ABaerbock  and the designated #COP28 president” Tweet by user “@GermanyDiplo,” May 3, 2023. Archived video on file at DeSmog.

“We believe that the world should come to terms with some realities and build this energy transition approach or roadmap on some realities. We believe that a parallel track is very much needed here, and it will be all sources. We know that fossil fuel will continue to play a role in the foreseeable future in helping meet global energy requirements.” [00:28:59] 

October 31, 2019

“The world will continue to rely on oil and gas as the majority source of energy for decades to come. Meeting the world’s future energy needs responsibly and economically, however, requires a renewed spirit of partnership, with new sets of investors that value long-term sustainable returns; energy companies where best practices are shared, technology is leveraged and capital efficiency maximised; and consuming and producing nations that recognise the shift in demand from West to East,” Al Jaber said in an interview with Energy Focus, the online magazine for the Energy Industries Council.56Q&A: View from the top: HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber,” Energy Focus, October 31, 2019. Archived April 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/IdLFt

Key Actions

November 21, 2023

At an event streamed November 21, 2023,57UNITE FOR CLIMATE SOLUTIONS SUMMIT,” YouTube video uploaded by user “SHE Changes Climate,” November 21, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Al Jaber reportedly said that “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5,” as The New York Times reported58Climate Summit Leader Tries to Calm Uproar Over a Remark on Fossil Fuels,” The New York Times, December 4, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lckEC

The Guardian first reported on the comments on December 3, 2023.59Damian Carrington and Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels,” The Guardian, December 3, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/u6mgO

Bill Hare, the chief executive of Climate Analytics, told The Guardian: “This is an extraordinary, revealing, worrying and belligerent exchange. ‘Sending us back to caves’ is the oldest of fossil fuel industry tropes: it’s verging on climate denial.”60Damian Carrington and Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels,” The Guardian, December 3, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/u6mgO

The New York Times reported that Former Vice President Al Gore, who has advocated for the phase-out of fossil fuels, said in an email: 61Climate Summit Leader Tries to Calm Uproar Over a Remark on Fossil Fuels,” The New York Times, December 4, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lckEC

“From the moment this absurd masquerade began, it was only a matter of time before his preposterous disguise no longer concealed the reality of the most brazen conflict of interest in the history of climate negotiations. Obviously, the world needs to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as possible.”

He added that Al Jaber “has been preparing one of the most aggressive expansions of fossil fuel production, timed to begin as soon as he bangs the final gavel to conclude COP28.”62Climate Summit Leader Tries to Calm Uproar Over a Remark on Fossil Fuels,” The New York Times, December 4, 2023. Archived December 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lckEC

November 27, 2023

The Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) published part of a cache of internal documents leaked by a whistleblower, including more than 150 pages of briefing prepared by Sultan Al Jaber’s COP28 team.63COP28 president secretly used climate summit role to push oil trade with foreign government officials,” Centre for Climate Reporting, November 27, 2023. Archived November 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/PJtH1

According to the CCR, who worked with the BBC to verify the authenticity of the documents, Al Jaber “sought to lobby on oil and gas deals during meetings with foreign governments about the UN climate summit.”64COP28 president secretly used climate summit role to push oil trade with foreign government officials,” Centre for Climate Reporting, November 27, 2023. Archived November 29, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/PJtH1

Bloomberg reported that Al Jaber went on to deny these claims, calling them “false, not true, incorrect and not accurate.”

Al Jaber said the report was “an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency.”

“I promise you never ever did I see these talking points that they referred to or that I ever used such talking points in my discussions,” he said. Al Jaber claimed all of the meetings had been focused on how the world could collectively keep global temperature rise from exceeding 1.5C from pre-industrial levels.

“Sometimes I am told you need to engage with governments and oil and gas companies to put pressure, and sometimes I’m told ‘you can’t do that’ — I’m damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” he said.

November 16, 2023

Sultan Al Jaber was included Time’s list of “the 100 Most Influential Climate Leaders in Business for 2023.65Time 100 Climate,” Time, November 16, 2023. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/eoYxf

According to Time’s profile on Al Jaber:66Sultan Al Jaber: Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE; CEO, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company; Chairman, Masdar,Time, November 16, 2023. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/9XX5t

 “He was appointed to run ADNOC in 2016, he says, months after the world had inked the Paris Agreement, in part to ‘future-proof’ the business amid the global transition away from fossil fuels. ‘They wanted a smart, progressive disruption,’ he says.”

“Progressive is a relative term,” Time added. “Al Jaber hasn’t committed ADNOC to cutting its oil production, nor has he charted a path for it to become a renewables company. Instead, the company is investing more than $150 billion on growth projects, including expanding its crude-oil production capacity to 5 million barrels per day by 2030. A fraction of that money, $15 billion, is dedicated to reducing the emissions that oil extraction will generate. That said, it has led to some improvement: Offshore oil rigs now run on electricity, and digital tools allow the company to map areas where energy is wasted. And the company has begun building big-budget carbon-­capture projects.”

November 15, 2023

The Guardian reported that, according to new data from Global Oil and Gas Exit List (Gogel), the UAE “has the largest net-zero-busting expansion plans of any company in the world.”67Damian Carrington. “Cop28 host UAE has world’s biggest climate-busting oil plans, data indicates,” The Guardian, November 15, 2023. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/B2BOw

Nils Bartsch, head of oil and gas research at the NGO Urgewald, which produces Gogel, commented on Al Jaber’s role in upcoming UN climate negotiations:68Damian Carrington. “Cop28 host UAE has world’s biggest climate-busting oil plans, data indicates,” The Guardian, November 15, 2023. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/B2BOw

“I think it’s ridiculous. I’m not sure how a person that’s responsible for this kind of oil and gas expansion is fit to lead the climate negotiations. It is the most obvious conflict of interest there can be,” Bartsch told The Guardian.69Damian Carrington. “Cop28 host UAE has world’s biggest climate-busting oil plans, data indicates,” The Guardian, November 15, 2023. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/B2BOw

An Adnoc spokesperson told The Guardian: “The data and assumptions in this report about Adnoc are incorrect and misleading.” Adnoc did not provide independent data on the company’s planned oil and gas expansions.70Damian Carrington. “Cop28 host UAE has world’s biggest climate-busting oil plans, data indicates,” The Guardian, November 15, 2023. Archived November 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/B2BOw

September 1, 2023

The Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) obtained leaked audio of an “exploratory meeting”71Ben Stockton. “Leaked audio reveals UAE plans to ‘minimise’ criticism of human rights abuses ahead of major UN climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pUw2W between UAE officials and their COP28 team and shared it with the New York Times.72Hiroko Tabuchi. “Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image,” The New York Times, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UdDXQ

The New York Times reported that an individual in the meeting who identified herself as Sconaid McGeachin, the communications director hired by the UAE for the climate summit, said that the UAE needed a strategy to address critics:73Hiroko Tabuchi. “Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image,” The New York Times, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UdDXQ

“COPs have evolved, obviously, over time. Now they’re an outlet for activism and for youth activism,” said McGeachin, “They will use this opportunity to attack the U.A.E. We need to preserve the reputation of the U.A.E., to look at how we can protect that and enhance its reputation, and to try and minimize those attacks as much as possible.”74Hiroko Tabuchi. “Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image,” The New York Times, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UdDXQ

“The biggest concerns that came out were all associated with human rights,” she added, such as freedom of speech, protest rights and L.G.B.T.Q.+ issues.75Hiroko Tabuchi. “Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image,” The New York Times, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UdDXQ

An UAE official suggested the strategy should focus primarily on climate change:76Hiroko Tabuchi. “Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image,” The New York Times, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UdDXQ

“Conversations should be limited to those directly associated with climate change,” she said in the recording, suggesting it was “not mandatory” to answer questions about the country’s position on L.G.B.T.Q. rights. She added it was important the climate conference was “not used as a free pass to throw everything at us.”

The New York Times noted that human rights groups have long urged the UAE to stop its imprisonment of government critics including activists, layers, and academics, pointing to a recent letter calling on the United States to pressure the UAE to release Ahmed Mansoor, a government critic jailed since 2017.77Hiroko Tabuchi. “Leaked Recording of U.A.E. Officials Reveals the Nation’s Concern Over Its Public Image,” The New York Times, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/UdDXQ

McGeachin suggested the UAE’s COP28 team could reach out to human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International:

“We’re aware that there are various reports coming out soon that we need to be ready for and joined up with all of you as to how do we counter those,” McGeachin said. “We’re saying we’re an inclusive Cop so we need to demonstrate that and we need to be seen to be engaging all stakeholders.”78”Ben Stockton. “Leaked audio reveals UAE plans to ‘minimise’ criticism of human rights abuses ahead of major UN climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pUw2W

“Even though that’s probably going to be challenging with some of the human rights groups,” she added, “[it] might be an advantage to at least show that we’ve held dialogues, we have met with them, and so on.”79”Ben Stockton. “Leaked audio reveals UAE plans to ‘minimise’ criticism of human rights abuses ahead of major UN climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pUw2W

Speaking with Joey Shea, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who has investigated abuses in the UAE and Audi Arabia, told the CCR that it was “deeply concerning” that “they are only thinking about engagement with human rights organisations in the service of laundering their reputation.”80”Ben Stockton. “Leaked audio reveals UAE plans to ‘minimise’ criticism of human rights abuses ahead of major UN climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pUw2W

CCR noted that one of the concerns surrounding COP28 has been the ability for climate activists to safely protest. While Al Jaber had released a statement assuring that climate activists would be allowed to protest at the summit, Shea suggested the right to protest should be repsected outside of just the climate conference: “We don’t want them to respect the right to assembly during COP28. We want them to respect and adhere to freedom of expression and assembly absolutely and in all circumstances and at all times.”81”Ben Stockton. “Leaked audio reveals UAE plans to ‘minimise’ criticism of human rights abuses ahead of major UN climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, September 1, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pUw2W

August 1, 2023

The Guardian received and reported on a leaked document of “touchy and sensitive issues” for the United Arab Emirates.82Damian Carrington. “Leak reveals ‘touchy’ issues for UAE’s presidency of UN climate summit,” The Guardian, August 1, 2023. Archived August 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/w8z0D

The document began with three pages of “Cop28 UAE key messages” and “narrative points.” The key messages included that “We need to reduce emissions in the systems we depend on today.”83Damian Carrington. “Leak reveals ‘touchy’ issues for UAE’s presidency of UN climate summit,” The Guardian, August 1, 2023. Archived August 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/w8z0D

“Other sensitive climate-related issues listed are that the president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, is also the chief executive of the UAE national oil company, Adnoc, a dual role that has been heavily criticised. The document also lists Adnoc’s failure to disclose its emissions or publish a sustainability report since 2016. ‘Adnoc is currently conducting necessary studies,’ the document says.”84Damian Carrington. “Leak reveals ‘touchy’ issues for UAE’s presidency of UN climate summit,” The Guardian, August 1, 2023. Archived August 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/w8z0D

“Its defence of Al Jaber states: ‘Dr Sultan’s full circle career [in energy, climate and diplomacy] gives him the expertise needed to constructively engage, disrupt, and unite the very sectors needed to achieve meaningful action.’”85Damian Carrington. “Leak reveals ‘touchy’ issues for UAE’s presidency of UN climate summit,” The Guardian, August 1, 2023. Archived August 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/w8z0D

The Guardian reported:86Damian Carrington. “Leak reveals ‘touchy’ issues for UAE’s presidency of UN climate summit,” The Guardian, August 1, 2023. Archived August 21, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/w8z0D

“The only mention of fossil fuels in the lengthy document is in a section titled ‘UAE as a hydrocarbon economy (fossil fuel lobbying)’. The response listed is that ‘the UAE is helping to build the energy system of tomorrow while reducing the carbon intensity of oil and gas’.

“The carbon intensity of oil or gas is the CO2 emitted per unit in producing the fuel and does not include the far greater emissions released when the fuel is burned.

“‘Climate ambition’ is listed as an issue and the document notes that the UAE increased the ambition of its pledges recently. However, the pledge would still allow UAE’s carbon emissions to increase up to 2030 and the independent Climate Action Tracker consortium rates the UAE’s plans as ‘insufficient’.”

“The UAE’s emissions per person, among the highest in the world, are also listed as an issue. ‘We recognise that we have significant room for improvement, which is why our leadership has set us on a path to net zero by 2050,’ the document says.”

[…]

“The document also lists responses to a long series of sensitive issues unrelated to climate and energy including: money laundering, war crimes in Yemen, political prisoners, surveillance and spying, LGBTQIA+ community, freedom of expression, women’s rights and people trafficking. Homosexual sex is illegal in the UAE and journalists have to be registered with the state.”

[…]

“The purpose of the document, it says, is ‘to build an understanding of the most important issues raised by the international media against the UAE … The ultimate aim is to improve the reputational image of the UAE.’”

July 5, 2023

The Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) and Drilled obtained a brief that had been distributed to advertising agencies that revealed the UAE had considered dropping “oil” from ADNOC as part of a major rebranding before the COP28 climate summit.87Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

“’National Oil Company’ not only makes us a target for potential criticism, but also limits our future growth potential,” the document reads.88Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

 “Introducing a holding company brand – above the ADNOC brand – allows us to broaden our portfolio and future proof the company, without compromising or undermining the equity of the ADNOC brand,” it added.89Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

The ‘National Oil Company’ portion of its name makes it a “target for potential criticism”, a presentation stated.90Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

CCR noted that the documents also suggested the proposed rebranding  “complements UAE positioning leading up to Cop28” and that the time prior to the conference would allow for “amplification” of a new name.91Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

An ADNOC rebranding would be a “a disruptive, ambitious, and confident energy company of the future” which “will invest and operate across the energy spectrum – from hydrocarbons and hydrogen to new and emerging energies,” the contract brief stated.92Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

CCR also obtained industry awards entries by ADNOC from 2019 and 2020, which showed the company faced the challenge of balancing Al Jaber’s reputation  as an “uncompromising change agent (a ‘fixer’) vs. compassionate community pillar (a ‘man of the people’).”93Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

ADNOC’s launch of “Oil & Gas 4.0” in 2019 was intended to promote ADNOC’s adaptation of new technologies and supposed environmental focus. The awards, submitted to the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), pushed Al Jaber as a “forward-thinking and pioneering leader playing a key role in the development of a modern and progressive United Arab Emirates,” and, according to CCR, “in many ways laying the groundwork for his future role as Cop28 president.”94Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

In place of “Oil & Gas 4.0,” ADNOC later adopted a new plan titled “Accelerate 100X” aimed at “capitalizing on the evolving energy landscape, future-proofing the company during the energy transition and maximizing value for the UAE.” It was under Accelerate 100X that ADNOC suggested its name change.95Ben Stockton, Lawrence Carter, and Amy Westervelt. ”Revealed: UAE state oil company planned major green rebrand ahead of climate summit,” Centre for Climate Reporting, July 5, 2023. Archived September 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/pAn3l

May 30, 2023

James Lynch, co-director of human rights organization Fair Square who claims he was previously “blacklisted” from the UAE during his work on human rights,96(Press Release. “UAE denies entry to Amnesty expert,” Amnesty International UK, May 27, 2015. Archived June 9, 2023. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/27edx wrote an article at Climate Home critical of Sultan Al Jaber’s involvement in the COP28 climate summit.97James Lynch. “Climate movement must switch on to UAE threat,” Climate Home News, May 30, 2023.Archived June 9, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/27edx

In the article, Lynch highlighted UAE’s Minister of Climate Change Mariam Almheiri’s declaration to Reuters that the world was not ready to “switch off” fossil fuels.

“The renewable space is advancing and accelerating extremely fast but we are nowhere near to be able to say that we can switch off fossil fuels and solely depend on clean and renewable energy,” Almheiri said during a May 2023 interview with Reuters.98Valerie Volcovici and Leah Douglas. “World not ready yet to ‘switch off’ fossil fuels, COP28 host UAE says,” Reuters, May 10, 2023. Archived May 17, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/EJhVB

Lynch commented on the UAE’s invitation of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to COP28 as a move “likely to cause discomfort among Western leaders who are strongly opposed to restoring diplomatic relations with the Syrian regime.”99Matteo Civillini. “UAE invites Syria’s Assad to Cop28 in latest rehabilitation push,” Climate Home News, May 16, 2023. Archived June 9, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0fQbY

He also highlighted the UAE’s record on oil and gas, linking to the Guardian’s reporting on UAE’s plans for future oil and gas expansion.

“Sultan Al Jaber is overseeing expansion to produce oil and gas equivalent to 7.5bn barrels of oil, according to new data, 90% of which would have to remain in the ground to meet the net zero scenario set out by the International Energy Agency,” The Guardian reported, using data produced by German NGO Urgewald based on data from Rystad Energy.100Damian Carrington. “Revealed: UAE plans huge oil and gas expansion as it hosts UN climate summit,” The Guardian, April 4, 2023. Archived June 9, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/CUWMF

In a May 2021 report, S&P Global Ratings predicted that Abu Dhabi’s oil production will climb to 3.1 million b/d by 2024.It also noted that about 90% of central government revenues came from the hydrocarbon sector.

Analysis from Climate Action Tracker also gave the UAE its second-worst rating of “highly insufficient” for its climate targets and policies, and its net zero target as “Poor.”101UAE,” Climate Action Tracker. Archived June 9, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/YzYCm

Lynch also noted that, according to data from The World Bank, UAE’s per-capita emissions are among the highest in the world as of 2019, ranking at number 4.102CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita),” The World Bank. Archived June 9, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GweS7

May 30, 2023

The Guardian reported that Sultan Al Jaber was accused of “attempting to ‘greenwash’ his image after it emerged that members of his team had edited Wikipedia pages that highlighted his role as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).”103Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

According to the Guardian, edits by Al Jaber’s team included adding a quote from an editorial that said Al Jaber was “precisely the kind of ally the climate movement needs” and a suggestion that editors remove a reference to an oil pipeline deal he had signed in 2019.104Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

A Wikipedia user who disclosed they were being paid by Adnoc suggested editors remove reference to a $4bn agreement Al Jaber signed with the U.S. investment firms BlackRock and KKR for developing oil pipeline infrastructure.105Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

The user also “recommended that editors delete a quote from the Financial Times which highlighted the dissonance between Al Jaber’s role as the UAE’s climate tsar and his driving of Adnoc’s fossil fuel expansion. Instead, they suggested that the page note the company was using the revenues from this increased oil output to ‘invest in carbon capture and green fuel technologies’.”106Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

The Guardian also noted a member of the COP28 team had been directly editing Wikipedia articles “despite having been ‘strongly discouraged’ from doing so.”

An account that The Guardian found was owned by COP28’s head of marketing, Ramzi Haddad, added a quote to the climate summit’s Wikipedia Page from a Bloomberg editorial which stated that “Al Jaber is precisely the kind of ally the climate movement needs” as well as links to Al Jaber’s website and social media accounts.107Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

Haddad’s account also promoted Al Jaber’s green credentials, adding to Al Jaber’s Wikipedia page that he was “the first CEO to ever serve as Cop president, having played a key role in shaping the country’s clean energy pathway.”108Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

Another user, paid by Masdar, reportedly worked to make Al Jaber’s role at Masdar more prominent on his page.

“Oil companies and their CEOs are taking greenwash to a whole new level – seizing control of global climate conferences, then getting their own employees to airbrush out criticism of their blatant hypocrisy on Wikipedia,” said Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.109Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

Marwa Fatafta, working with digitals rights group Access Now, commented the “alarming” revelations were part of broader attempts by the UAE to “control the narrative” and “polish up the image of Al Jaber.”110Ben Stockton. “Cop28 president’s team accused of Wikipedia ‘greenwashing’,” The Guardian, May 30, 2023. Archived May 30, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/0DaLm

Al Jaber has also been actively working with PR firms to promote the UAE investments in green energy.

May 23, 2023

Bloomberg reported more than 100 EU and US lawmakers signed on to a letter to President Joe Biden appealing for the UN to remove Sultan Al Jaber as the head of the COP28 climate summit.111Akshat Rathi and John Ainger. “More Than 100 US, EU Politicians Want Oil CEO Removed as COP28 Head,” Bloomberg, May 23, 2023. Archived May 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SN8AO

The letter, seen by Bloomberg Green, was signed by 99 EU and 34 US lawmakers and called for steps to limit the influence fossil fuel companies have at the summit hosted in the UAE.112Akshat Rathi and John Ainger. “More Than 100 US, EU Politicians Want Oil CEO Removed as COP28 Head,” Bloomberg, May 23, 2023. Archived May 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SN8AO

“For billions of people, the outcome of COP28 and following international climate negotiations will make the difference between life and death, chaos and solidarity,” said MEP Manon Aubry, one of the signatories. “Corporate greed and lobbyists’ lies have led us into this climate crisis. We must prevent private interests from interfering in politics and regain ownership of our future.”

Bloomberg reported that another effort to remove Al Jaber from the COP28 presidency occurred in January, 2023, when more than two dozen US lawmakers asked US climate envoy John Kerry to “apply diplomatic pressure on the UAE to replace him as COP28 chief.” In February, EU lawmakers also made a similar case in a letter to Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).113Akshat Rathi and John Ainger. “More Than 100 US, EU Politicians Want Oil CEO Removed as COP28 Head,” Bloomberg, May 23, 2023. Archived May 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SN8AO

Bloomberg also reported:

“Under Al Jaber, Adnoc is set to boost oil and gas production, which is something the International Energy Agency and climate scientists agree could cause the world to blow past limits for global warming set through the COP process.”114Akshat Rathi and John Ainger. “More Than 100 US, EU Politicians Want Oil CEO Removed as COP28 Head,” Bloomberg, May 23, 2023. Archived May 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SN8AO

May 3, 2023

In a joint press conference with Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs for Germany Annalena Baerbock, Sultan Al Jaber suggested that his approach as COP President would be a “mirror image” of the UAE’s work on the energy transition:

“Our approach is going to be, in a way, a mirror image of what we have been doing in the United Arab Emirates, where we have embraced a comprehensive, holistic approach to energy transition that included all sources of energy with one main theme, and the theme have always been phasing out emissions. Again, phasing out emissions by building on and capitalizing on existing and new and emerging technologies,” he said. [00:28:06]115“#info: starting at +/- 13.45 pm CEST you can follow the joint press conference of Foreign Minister @ABaerbock  and the designated #COP28 president” Tweet by user “@GermanyDiplo,” May 3, 2023. Archived video on file at DeSmog.

According to data from Our World In Data for the UAE, as of 2021 Gas accounted for more than 55% share of energy consumption, and 40% came from oil. Together, solar, other renewables, and nuclear accounted for a total of approximately 3.18% of.116United Arab Emirates: Energy Country Profile,” Our World in Data. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL:  https://archive.ph/lllmg

That data also shows the UAE as having a 96.82% share of primary energy from fossil fuels as of 2021:

The Financial Times reported following the conference, suggesting Al Jaber was “at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels” given his statements “pushing for the continued long-term use of fossil fuels by capturing their carbon emissions.”117Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

The article highlighted Al Jaber’s statement at the end of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue where he had commented fossil fuels would “continue to play a role in the foreseeable future.”118Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

“If we’re serious about mitigating climate change and reducing in a practical manner emissions we must scale up carbon capture technologies,” Al Jaber had said, adding that in the United Arab Emirates “we have embraced a comprehensive, holistic approach to the energy transition.”119Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

A “parallel track” was needed while scaling up sources of renewable energy, he said. “Our aim should be focused on phasing out emissions . . . while allowing socio-economic progress.”120Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

The Financial Times highlighted statements by some other ministers and delegates who may have “differed on the long-term outlook for continued oil and gas production and use.”121Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

For example, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said in closing: “We have to get out of fossil fuels, we have to dramatically reduce emissions.”122Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

Dan Jørgensen, Danish minister for global climate policy, told Financial Times there were concerns “about making sure [CCS] does not become an excuse for not making the [energy] transformation we need.”123Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

Tina Stege, climate envoy for the vulnerable Marshall Islands, said at the conference:

“We need to really honestly look at where we are, what we haven’t done and what we need to do,” said Stege. “The fossil fuel era has to come to an end.”124Attracta Mooney and Camilla Hodgson. “COP28 head at odds with climate leaders over future for fossil fuels,” Financial Times, May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archived May 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/kMZoq

May 2, 2023

Sultan Al Jaber spoke in the opening session of the 14th Petersberg Climate Dialogue. He commented on the energy transition, suggesting the UAE has “embraced in practice the energy transition”:125“#Info: starting at +/- 10.30 am CEST you can follow the opening session of the 14th Petersberg Climate Dialogue […],” Tweet by user @GermanyDiplo, March 2, 2023. Archived video and audio on file at DeSmog.

“In a pragmatic, just, and well-managed energy transition, we must be laser focused on phasing out fossil fuel emissions while phasing up and scaling up viable, affordable, zero carbon alternatives. This is the approach we have been taking in the United Arab Emirates for more than 20 years, where we have embraced in practice the energy transition.” [50:31]

“We know that the energies used today will continue to be part of the global energy mix for the foreseeable future, and as such, we will continue to work with the world to decarbonize the current energy system while we build the new energy system that is capable of transitioning even the most heavy emitting industries,” he said.

He also suggested enhancing the hydrogen value chain and working on making Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) “commercially viable:”

“We will accelerate delivery in sectors like renewables that must triple capacity by 2030 and double that again by 2040. We will encourage smart government regulation to jump start the hydrogen value chain and make carbon capture commercially viable. And the public, multilateral, and private sectors must be mobilized in new and innovative ways on the critical issue of climate finance,” he added. [52:35]

January 14, 2023

Al Jaber spoke at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum where he gave remarks “on the COP28 agenda, how to transform climate progress, and the role of fossil fuels.”126H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber on the COP28 agenda, how to transform climate progress, and the role of fossil fuels,” Atlantic Council, January 14, 2023. Archived April 24, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5E36L

“We know that many of the solutions do exist,” Al Jaber said. “Scaling renewables, and nuclear, and hydrogen, and carbon capture, and energy efficiency, and of course, the least carbon intensive oil and gas, as well as new technologies yet to be developed and deployed.”[23:31]

“[…] As long as the world still uses hydrocarbons, we must ensure they are the least carbon intensive possible. We will work with the energy industry on accelerating the decarbonization, reducing methane and expanding hydrogen. [25:52]

He added, “Let’s keep our focus on holding back emissions, not progress.”

May 11, 2022

Al Jaber presented Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi with a “Business Leadership Award” at the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Leadership Awards event.127Claudio Descalzi-Distinguished Business Leadership Award,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Atlantic Council,” May 11, 2022. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“To me, it was a no brainer. Claudio has been a close business partner and a very dear friend for the United Arab Emirates and for me personally for many years,” Al Jaber said, introducing the award. [2:58]

“Claudio has always been a trusted and reliable partner to everyone who does business with him. His approach mirrors what the UAE values in partnership. He has set and achieved ambitious targets to decarbonize his company’s operations, and he rebalanced in his portfolio from oil to gas, and he has set his sights of the potential of new zero carbon energy sources with pioneering investments in magnetic fusion alongside MIT.” [5:59]

January 2021

In a position the Financial Times described as “particularly stark, given Mr Jaber also counts the role of climate tsar among his various government positions,” he was “unapologetic for accelerating crude output” while head of ADNOC, where he promised to raise the output capacity of the UAE from 3 million barrels of oil a day in 2016 to 5 million barrels per day by 2030:128Anjli Raval and Simeon Kerr. “Adnoc defies retreat from oil with push to pump up output,Financial Times, January 17, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GpxwD

“We will not leave any opportunity unturned,” he said in the article. “We are continuing exploration programmes, identifying proven reserves, increasing production and, wherever we can, we will attract strategic partners.”

“We are a long-term player,” he added. “The future will require more oil and more hydrocarbon resources . . . Being the lowest-cost producer will always give us a competitive edge.”

November 2015

Leaked emails first reported in The Guardian and provided to The New York Times, found that Bernardino León, a Spanish diplomat and former foreign minister, had been hired by the UAE “to lead a state-backed thinktank,” which “cast doubt on the UN envoy’s [León’s] credibility,” The Guardian reported.

The New York Times reported on an additional set of leaked correspondence, suggesting “The United Arab Emirates was shipping weapons to favored belligerents in Libya over the summer in violation of an international arms embargo while simultaneously offering a highly paid job to the United Nations diplomat drafting a peace accord there.”129David D. Kirkpatrick. “Leaked Emirati Emails Could Threaten Peace Talks in Libya,” The New York Times, November 12, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/p97Vp

According to The New York Times, the leaked emails they reviewed “suggest that the United Arab Emirates’ arms shipments continued at least through August, even as a United Nations mediator, Bernardino Léon, was completing a proposed agreement between the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government.”130David D. Kirkpatrick. “Leaked Emirati Emails Could Threaten Peace Talks in Libya,” The New York Times, November 12, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/p97Vp

They further detailed Léon’s appearance in the separate leak discussed by The Guardian, and mention a discussion between Léon and Al Jaber regarding the position at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) :131David D. Kirkpatrick. “Leaked Emirati Emails Could Threaten Peace Talks in Libya,” The New York Times, November 12, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/p97Vp

“Other leaked emails, first reported in The Guardian newspaper and provided to The Times, show that while Mr. Léon was drafting the agreement, the Emiratis were also in the process of hiring Mr. Léon as the $50,000-a-month director general of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, creating a potential conflict of interest. Mr. Léon received a formal offer in June and negotiated throughout the summer over the details of his $96,000-a-year housing allowance.

“‘I am flying today for 24 hours to Abu Dhabi,’ Mr. Léon wrote to a senior Emirati official, Sultan al-Jaber, in an email dated Sept. 6 and provided to The Times. ‘Tomorrow I will work with E.D.A. colleagues and will be as always at your disposal should you need anything from me,’ he said.”

Affiliations

Social Media

A number of Al Jaber’s associated companies also maintain social media accounts:

ADNOC Group

Masdar

Office Of The UAE Special Envoy For Climate Change

Publications

Some sample publications written by Al Jaber below:

‘Belt and Road’ is a bridge to our common future,” The National, May 13, 2017.

Other Resources

Resources

Related Profiles

Edelman Background Edelman is the largest public relations and marketing company in the world by revenues. In 2021, the company had $1 billion in fee income and more than 6,000 employees."O'...
George Mason University (GMU) Background George Mason University (GMU) began as the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia in 1957. In 1972 it had grown to the point where it...