Shafaq News / Hilda Heine, a member of the principal advisory council for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), announced her resignation on Friday due to reports revealing the UAE presidency's exploitation of the conference for new oil and gas agreements.
In her resignation letter, Heine, the former president of the Marshall Islands, expressed deep disappointment over reports indicating that the UAE intended to discuss potential gas and other agreements before UN climate talks. She found this move greatly disheartening, warning that it undermined the integrity of the multi-party negotiation process.
Addressing her letter to conference president Sultan Al Jaber, Heine pointed out that these actions eroded the conference's presidency and its overall integrity.
Last Monday, the British BBC network published a leaked document indicating the UAE's behind-the-scenes aim to utilize its position as the host of COP28 to strike more oil deals worldwide. The UAE climate team did not deny using COP28 meetings but emphasized the meetings' confidentiality, refusing to comment on discussions while focusing on climate-focused work.
Sultan Al Jaber, appointed President of the Conference of the Parties on Climate (COP28), denied last Wednesday the report alleging that the UAE is seeking further oil and gas deals during the Climate Summit (COP28). In a press statement carried by the Associated Press, he announced his agreement to step down from his position as the CEO of ADNOC amidst allegations of conflict of interest.
Al Jaber stated in response to the report published by BBC, "These allegations are false, inaccurate, and misleading." He further added, "I have never seen such points as they referred to, and I have never used them in my discussions. Please respect who we are and what we have achieved over the years, and acknowledge that we have been clear, honest, and transparent about the way COP has been conducted."
Al Jaber continued, stating that the British network's report is an "attempt to undermine the work of the COP 28 presidency."
Following his remarks, Al Jaber issued a press release also reported by the Associated Press on Wednesday, stating that he "agreed to step down from his position as the CEO of ADNOC after discussions with representatives from the United Nations and others."
The statement read, "Concerns were raised by several parties regarding the effectiveness of Al Jaber's role as acting president if he continued to lead ADNOC."
Furthermore, dsagreement over fossil fuels persists as over 140 world leaders convene at the conference to tackle climate crisis issues. The conference, according to French news agency AFP, is yet to achieve the transformation envisioned by Charles, the Prince of Wales, despite his calls for COP28 to surpass the Paris Agreement and accelerate climate action.
Britain's monarch, attending a climate conference for the first time since ascending the throne, reminisced about his participation in COP21, which led to the historic Paris Agreement. He remarked, "Often, records are broken to an extent that we, as humanity, remain unaffected by what is being conveyed."
Expressing heartfelt hope for COP28 to be another turning point towards a genuine green transition, he highlighted the devastating hurricanes that have ravaged vulnerable islands, the floods in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, and the unprecedented fires affecting numerous countries from the United States to Greece.
The monarch, known for his advocacy for environmental issues, concluded by stating, "The Earth is not ours to own; we belong to the Earth."
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, set to host COP30 in two years, emphasized dissatisfaction with climate agreements lacking adherence.
With over 170 world leaders expected by December 12, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that a 1.5°C limit could only be preserved by ceasing all fossil fuel consumption, noting the planet's alarming indicators.
The conference's first day saw the activation of the Loss and Damage Mechanism for the most climate-vulnerable nations. The UAE president announced a $30 billion fund for climate solutions during the leaders' summit at the conference.
Amid this critical development, negotiations remain arduous until the conference ends on December 12 to rectify humanity's path towards a climate warming of 2.5 to 2.9°C compared to pre-industrial levels.
Reassessment of the role of fossil fuels remains imperative, especially for Al Jaber, criticized due to his role as president of the government-owned ADNOC oil company.
The preliminary agreement draft published on Friday for negotiation by around 200 nations suggests the necessity of "reducing/abandoning fossil fuels."