UAE Allegedly Planned Fossil Fuel Deals Leveraging COP28 Hosting

    Leaked documents obtained by the BBC suggest that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strategized to exploit its COP28 hosting role, engaging in fossil fuel deals during meetings with foreign governments. The confidential briefing notes, prepared by the UAE’s COP28 team for summit president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, were scrutinised by the Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) in collaboration with the BBC. The documents outline discussions with various countries, including China, Colombia, Germany, and Egypt, where the UAE expressed a readiness to explore joint ventures in fossil fuel projects and sought support for deals involving its state oil company, ADNOC. The UAE allegedly aimed to utilise the COP28 platform to pursue commercial opportunities for its state renewable energy company, Masdar.

    Leaked “talking points” for a meeting with China indicated that ADNOC was open to jointly evaluating international liquefied natural gas (LNG) opportunities in Mozambique, Canada, and Australia. Briefing notes for other countries suggested ADNOC’s willingness to assist in the development of fossil fuel projects. Additionally, the documents indicated ADNOC’s pursuit of Brazil’s endorsement for a non-binding offer, in collaboration with private equity firm Apollo, seeking a controlling stake in petrochemical producer Braksem.

    Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, who serves as COP28 president, is also the CEO of ADNOC and Masdar. While a COP28 spokesperson dismissed the leaked documents as inaccurate and unused in meetings, climate campaigners have raised concerns about potential fossil fuel influence at the climate talks in Dubai.

    Critics point to Al Jaber’s role in the oil industry, emphasising the need for impartiality at COP events. Al Jaber defended the inclusion of heavy-emitting industries, arguing that everyone should be part of the climate debate. COP28, scheduled from November 23 to December 12, is a critical assessment of global progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement, with a goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The leaked documents highlight the intricate challenges posed by fossil fuel interests amid international efforts to address climate change.