Dubai: The Emirati president-designate for the upcoming United Nations COP28 climate talks forcefully denied Wednesday a report alleging his nation planned to use the summit to strike oil and gas deals, a day before the summit was due to begin.
Sultan al-Jaber, who also leads the massive state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., called the allegations from a BBC report “an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency” before the talks begin Thursday. The report cited what it described as “leaked briefing documents” the broadcaster described as showing the Emirates planned to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations.
“These allegations are false, not true, incorrect and not accurate,” al-Jaber told a small group of journalists gathered for a news conference that also was aired live. “I promise you never ever did I see these talking points that they refer to or that I ever even used such talking points in my discussions.”
He added: “So please for once, respect who we are, respect what we have achieved over the years and respect the fact that we have been clear open and clean and honest and transparent on how we want to conduct this COP process.”
The BBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Immediately after the remarks, a news release on his behalf said he “has agreed to step down from his position as ADNOC CEO upon deliberation between key representatives” from the UN and others. He planned to hold a news conference later Wednesday.
ADNOC, the state oil company, has plans to increase its production of crude oil from 4 million barrels a day up to 5 million, boosting its production of carbon-emitting crude oil and natural gas.
Al-Jaber, a 50-year-old longtime climate envoy, is a trusted confidant of UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He’s been behind tens of billions of dollars spent or pledged toward renewable energy in the federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Jaber escorted Sheikh Mohammed through the COP28 site on Wednesday ahead of his remarks.