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Leak Docs: UAE Planned To Use COP 28 Climate Talks To Make Oil Deals - BBC

Updated - 5/12/23: The BBC's recent report, in collaboration with the Center for Climate Reporting, alleging that the UAE planned to use COP 28 negotiations to secretly secure oil and gas deals has generated significant controversy. However, closer analysis reveals crucial flaws and omissions in the report, raising questions about its accuracy and undermining its claims.
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”The United Arab Emirates planned to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals, the BBC has learned.
Leaked briefing documents reveal plans to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations.
The UN body responsible for the COP28 summit told the BBC hosts were expected to act without bias or self-interest.
The UAE team did not deny using COP28 meetings for business talks, and said "private meetings are private".
It declined to comment on what was discussed in the meetings and said its work has been focused on "meaningful climate action".
The documents - obtained by independent journalists at the Centre for Climate Reporting working alongside the BBC - were prepared by the UAE's COP28 team for meetings with at least 27 foreign governments ahead of the COP28 summit, which starts on 30 November.
They included proposed "talking points", such as one for China which says Adnoc, the UAE's state oil company, is "willing to jointly evaluate international LNG [liquefied natural gas] opportunities" in Mozambique, Canada and Australia.
The documents suggest telling a Colombian minister that Adnoc "stands ready" to support Colombia to develop its fossil fuel resources.
There are talking points for 13 other countries, including Germany and Egypt, which suggest telling them Adnoc wants to work with their governments to develop fossil fuel projects.
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The briefings show the UAE also prepared talking points on commercial opportunities for its state renewable energy company, Masdar, ahead of meetings with 20 countries, including the UK, United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kenya.
COP28 is the UN's latest round of global climate talks. This year it is being hosted by the UAE in Dubai and is due to be attended by 167 world leaders, including the Pope and King Charles III.
These summits are the world's most important meetings to discuss how to tackle climate change.
The hope is COP28 will help limit the long-term global temperature rise to 1.5C, which the UN's climate science body says is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But that will require drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, it says - a 43% reduction by 2030 from 2019 levels.
As part of the preparations for the conference, the UAE's COP28 team arranged a series of ministerial meetings with governments from around the world.
The meetings were to be hosted by the president of COP28, Dr Sultan al-Jaber. Each year the host nation appoints a representative to be the COP president.
Meeting representatives of foreign governments is one of the core responsibilities of COP presidents. It is the president's job to encourage countries to be as ambitious as possible in their efforts to cut emissions.
The leaked briefing documents seen by the BBC were prepared for Dr Jaber - who is also CEO of the UAE's giant state oil company, Adnoc, and of the state renewables business, Masdar.
The documents contain a summary of objectives for the meetings, including information about the minister or official Dr Jaber was due to meet and what issues he should raise in the UAE's efforts to progress the climate talks.
For more than two dozen countries, the documents also contain talking points drawn up by Adnoc and Masdar:
The Brazilian environment minister was to be asked for help "securing alignment and endorsement" for Adnoc's bid for Latin America's largest oil and gas processing company, Braskem. Earlier this month, Adnoc made a $2.1bn (£1.7bn) offer to buy a key stake
Germany was to be told by Adnoc: "We stand ready to continue our LNG supplies"
Adnoc suggested the oil-producing nations of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela be told "there is no conflict between the sustainable development of any country's natural resources and its commitment to climate change"
The BBC has seen an email exchange in which COP28 staff members are told Adnoc and Masdar talking points "always need to be included" in the briefing notes. The COP28 team said it was "simply untrue" that staff had been told this.
It is not clear on how many occasions Dr Jaber and his colleagues raised the talking points in COP28 meetings with foreign governments.
We know, on at least one occasion, a nation followed up on commercial discussions brought up in a meeting arranged by the UAE's COP28 team.
However, 12 nations have told the BBC there was either no discussion of commercial activities during meetings, or a meeting did not take place.
These included the UK. The leaked documents show the COP28 president had been briefed to "seek government support" to more than double the size of a wind farm off the coast of Sheringham in Norfolk in which Masdar has a stake.
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Attempting to do business deals during the COP process appears to be a serious breach of the standards of conduct expected of a COP president.
Those standards are set by the UN body responsible for the climate negotiations, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The UNFCCC says the "cardinal principle" for COP presidents and their teams is "the obligation of impartiality".
It told the BBC that COP presidents are "expected to act without bias, prejudice, favouritism, caprice, self-interest, preference or deference, strictly based on sound, independent and fair judgement".
"They are also expected to ensure that personal views and convictions do not compromise or appear to compromise their role and functions as a UNFCCC officer," it continued.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the head of the COP20 summit in Peru in 2014, worries a collapse in trust could mean no progress on tackling climate change in Dubai.
"The president of the COP is the leader of the world, is trying to build consensus on behalf of the planet," he told the BBC.
"If any president of the COP tries to bring a particular interest, [including] commercial interest, that could mean the failure of the COP.”
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At a press conference last month, COP28 director-general Majid al-Suwaidi said the UAE's climate summit team was "fully independent" of both Adnoc and Masdar.
COP28 has been "very clear about our independence" in discussions with the UNFCCC, he added.
In a statement, the COP28 team told the BBC: "The fact that Dr Sultan al-Jaber holds a number of positions alongside his role as COP28 president-designate is public knowledge and something we have been transparent about from the outset.
"Dr Sultan al-Jaber is singularly focused on the business of COP and delivering ambitious and transformational climate outcomes at COP28," the statement said, adding it would be a "distraction" to suggest that the work he has undertaken has not "been focused on meaningful climate action".
These are serious allegations but ultimately the success of the UAE's leadership of the climate talks, and of the COP28 president himself, will be judged by the results achieved at the summit, experts say.
The COP28 summit is due to end on Tuesday 12 December.

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17 more agrees trigger social media ads

  • We Don't Have Time

    19 w

    This story suffers from serious flaws and omissions. Dive into this fascinating piece of investigative journalism that sheds light on the ongoing propaganda battle surrounding COP28. Remember, the reality is often more nuanced than it appears

    • We Don't Have Time

      19 w

      Dear Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui Your climate warning has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to UNITED ARAB EMIRATES by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

      • Gabriella Coppolecchia

        20 w

        Why are polititians so greedy and shortsighted? Can't they realize that they are the ones that can make it or break it?? Don't they get that they can doom us all??

        • winnie nguru

          20 w

          This is utterly disappointing .

          • George Kariuki

            20 w

            This is a clear conflict of interest and suggests that the UAE is not serious about tackling climate change.

            • Patrick Kiash

              20 w

              Very sad to note...they choose profit over the planet.

              • Esther Wanjiku

                20 w

                This is the height of dubiousness to say the least

                • Kevin

                  20 w

                  This is very disappointing to say the least

                  • Sarah Chabane

                    20 w

                    Are we surprised? No. Is it disappointing, yes 100%

                    • johnte ndeto

                      20 w

                      Fossil fuels should be a story of the past considering it's harmful to the climate

                      • Gorffly mokua

                        20 w

                        Unfortunately, Behind the curtains this is their main agenda!!

                        • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

                          20 w

                          The report on leaked documents revealing the UAE's plans to use the COP28 climate talks for oil and gas deals raises serious ethical concerns. The documents indicate the UAE's intention to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations, potentially undermining the primary goal of COP28, which is to address and combat climate change.

                          • Elizabeth Gathigia

                            20 w

                            We strongly condemn such actions, this should not be allowed to happen!

                            • Rotich Kim

                              20 w

                              The direction UAE is going is not the right this should be condemn with the strongest term as possible

                              • Richard S

                                20 w

                                Dirty Deals in #UK 🇬🇧 Already knew Germany is all 🔥#FOSSIL #Gas🔥 So🔥 China in 🔥Canada,🔥 Mozambik & 😈#Australia🔥

                                • Princess

                                  20 w

                                  This is so disconcerting .Such actions could undermine the integrity of global climate negotiations

                                  • Abraham Jok Atem

                                    20 w

                                    UAE is going against everyone's expectations. They need to be warned

                                    • mercy nduta

                                      20 w

                                      This should not be accepted,we condemn such plans with strongest term possible.

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