Petrostate Chosen to Lead Next Climate Summit, But Leaked Docs Reveal Its Underlying Motive Is All About Fossil Fuels

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The United Arab Emirates intended to leverage its influence as host of this year’s United Nations climate summit to make fossil fuel deals with other countries, according to leaked memos obtained by the BBC.

Leaked briefing documents and talking points showed that the UAE, one of the world’s 10 largest oil-producing countries, had plans to discuss potential fossil fuel business deals with at least 15 other nations sending delegates to the conference, known as COP28, according to the BBC. The documents show that the UAE’s COP28 team, led by COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, arranged a slew of meetings with foreign officials ahead of the confab, many of which involved discussing potential partnerships with Emirati state-owned energy businesses for which Al-Jaber serves in crucial executive roles.

One set of talking points, meant for a meeting with Chinese representatives, addresses the willingness of Adnoc, the UAE’s state-owned oil giant, “to jointly evaluate international LNG [liquefied natural gas] opportunities” in Mozambique, Canada and Australia, according to the BBC. Another set of talking points included in a memo for a meeting with Colombian officials describes how Adnoc “stands ready” to assist Colombia in taking advantage of its oil and gas reserves.

Additionally, the BBC obtained talking points designed for meetings with officials from 13 other nations, including Germany and Egypt, indicating that Adnoc is willing and able to partner with them to undertake fossil fuel-related projects.


Emirati representatives intended to ask Brazil’s environmental minister for help “securing alignment and endorsement” of Adnoc’s efforts to purchase a crucial stake of Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical processing company. Adnoc also reportedly suggested that Emirati representatives were to tell delegates from Colombia and Saudi Arabia that “there is no conflict between the sustainable development of any country’s natural resources and its commitment to climate change.”

Masdar, the state-owned green energy company, is involved in talking points regarding potential business opportunities prepared in advance of meetings with officials from 20 countries, according to the BBC. Some of the delegates to whom Emirati officials intended to convey those talking points hailed from countries including the U.K, U.S., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kenya.

Al-Jaber is the CEO of Adnoc and the chairman of Masdar. Hosts of UN climate conferences are supposed to act impartially as they carry out their duties, as a representative for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change told the BBC.

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