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UAE COP28 chair calls on oil companies to ‘take climate action’

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VIENNA – The incoming COP28 president of the United Arab Emirates on Thursday urged Fossil fuel industry ‘stepping up’ It is just months before the UAE will host a UN climate conference in Dubai in November, “Taking Climate Action” for a low-carbon energy system.

Sultan Ahmed Jaber addresses delegates at the OPEC International Symposium, a meeting of oil executives and OPEC ministers, in Vienna. OPEC is made up of 13 oil-exporting countries, including the United Arab Emirates, and another 10 countries make up OPEC+.

The selection of al-Jaber as the next president of the COP has raised eyebrows and drawn some criticism, given his role as chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), one of the world’s largest polluters. However, Jaber is also the chairman of the renewable energy company Masdar.

Al Jaber, the first oil chief executive to chair the COP on climate change, called on the industry to “deliver climate action and economic opportunity”.

The planet must cut its carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030 if it is to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and avoid climate catastrophe, scientists say .

Over the same time frame, energy demand will only increase as the world’s population increases by 500 million people, Jaber noted. OPEC forecast Energy demand will increase by 23% in 2045.

“The key challenge of this century is therefore to substantially reduce emissions while maintaining strong sustainable growth. Here we are talking about a system-wide transformation of entire economies,” Jaber said.

“For too long, this industry has been seen by some as part of the problem. Now is the time to step up, turn things around and show the world once again how important this industry is to the solutions we need,” he added. “So I invite you to use your resources, your experience, your knowledge and your skills to help build a bridge for humanity to a brighter future.”

Energy companies have faced legal challenges and been heavily criticized for continuing to invest in fossil fuel extraction. At an OPEC event on Wednesday, TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne suggested oil companies should make climate commitments ahead of COP28.

Kuwait’s Oil Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Saad Barak said Kuwait was “ready to work with the UAE” to make COP28 a success.

“The success of the meeting will be the culmination of international climate action and cooperation and joint efforts to protect the planet,” he told the UAE’s state news agency WAM in an article published on Thursday.

Barak added that Kuwait will invest more than $300 billion in the country’s energy sector by 2040, including increasing the country’s oil production capacity to 3.2 million barrels per day.

OPEC bans crowds of journalists from entering Those who applied to attend and report on the event included Al-Monitor, Bloomberg, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.

A spokesman for the group told Al-Monitor it was “an executive decision”, but gave no other reason for the move. It was the second time in a month that OPEC has prevented some journalists from covering its activities.



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