DUBAI – On Sunday, former US Vice President and climate activist Al Gore blasted the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was hosting the COP28 climate meeting. Gore claimed that the UAE had abused its position as guardian of the international climate talks this year.
During an interview with Reuters on the fringes of the Dubai conference, COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber—who also happens to be the president of the UAE’s national oil corporation, ADNOC—made remarks that revealed the doubts held by several attendees over his ability to act as an impartial mediator in the climate agreement negotiation process.
“They are abusing the public’s trust by naming the CEO of one of the largest and least responsible oil companies in the world as head of the COP,” stated Gore.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the United Arab Emirates increased by 7.5% in 2022 compared to the previous year, while global emissions increased by 1.5%. Gore presented these numbers at a presentation at the COP main plenary hall before the interview. According to Gore, this information originated from Climate TRACE, a consortium he helped build. It employs AI and satellite data to monitor individual firms’ carbon emissions.
In response to Gore’s comments and the TRACE data, the UAE has been mum thus far.
Gore, who was the Democratic Party’s presidential contender in 2000 but lost, was also quite critical of the oil and gas industry’s participation in the yearly climate conference and its advocacy of carbon capture and other technology meant to reduce emissions from fossil fuels.
When asked about ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods’s first-ever COP visit, Gore clarified that the company’s participation did not ignore its opposition to climate policy in the past.
No one should take him seriously. According to Gore, he is prioritising the preservation of human civilisation above the protection of his riches.
No comment was given by Exxon Mobil.
Gore urged participants to accept the final document released at the summit, which would phase out fossil fuels, without mentioning or qualifying carbon capture technology.
“The current state of technology for carbon capture and direct air capture is a research project,” stated Gore. “There’s been no cost reduction for 50 years, and there is a pretense on the part of the fossil fuel companies that it is a readily available, economically viable technology.”