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With the UAE positioned among a select group of major oil producers who expect to keep supplying global markets as the energy transition unfolds, detractors fear that COP28 has been subverted by hydrocarbons industry lobbying, which they claim will be promoted by the climate conference’s president-designate, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company chief executive Sultan Al-Jaber.
But it would prove a historic mistake for critics to under-estimate the multi-faceted Al-Jaber’s arguments and commitments, as the UAE commits billions of dollars to renewable energy development in Africa in moves that will help the politically savvy Emirates to forge a powerful southern alliance at a likely polarised COP28.