The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference will start in Dubai in a few days. It is now known that the UAE wanted to develop gas and oil production projects in advance.
Can a country that has become rich by selling climate-damaging fossil fuels enjoy credibility as a host of the climate conference? This question was actually raised when it was announced that the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) would be held in Dubai. Now, just days before the big event begins, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the UAE wanted to use its host role to discuss new gas and oil production projects with various countries.
The BBC quotes internal briefings of bilateral meetings between the climate conference president and leaders of other countries. Specifically, these documents show that the UAE planned to offer contracts to promote fossil fuels at various meetings in preparation for the climate conference.
It remains unclear whether the points were actually discussed in the meetings. Regardless, this is not consistent with the meaning and spirit of the UN climate conference, according to the UN climate secretariat. COP hosts are expected to put their own interests aside.
However, David Reifsch, head of climate policy at the German climate watchdog Germanwatch, was not surprised: “After the announcement that the CEO of the UAE’s national oil and gas company would be president of the COP, we were concerned about that.” From the beginning she would be one with a double-edged agenda. On the one hand, the UAE certainly wanted to strengthen climate protection. On the other hand, they want to continue investing in fossil fuels. “But it doesn’t work together,” Reivish confirms.
These leaks will increase pressure on the Presidency of the Conference of the Parties.
The latest reports from both the International Energy Agency and the United Nations Environment Programme, Unep, show once again that the Paris climate targets will not be met if countries continue to invest in coal, oil and gas. Many climate protection organizations, as well as several countries – including Switzerland – are demanding that the international community in Dubai send a strong signal and decide to phase out coal, oil and gas.
Coal, oil and gas producers are moving
According to Revisch, a leak could help: “These leaks will increase pressure on the COP presidency. It will demand that the international community focus on achieving a good outcome for climate protection and take a clear position.” The COP Press Office has not yet responded to a request from SRF Radio.
One thing is clear: attempts by coal, oil and gas producers to influence climate diplomacy have taken on new dimensions this year. Ultimately, this should be more evident at the Dubai climate conference than in previous years. Because lobbyists of all kinds will have to declare their origin for the first time. Despite recent leaks, the question of whether Dubai’s fossil fuels can give global climate protection a much-needed boost cannot be clearly answered yet.
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