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COP28: Al Gore in strong criticism of hosts UAE

COP28: Al Gore in strong criticism of hosts UAE

Al Gore addresses the audience during his COP28 speech. Photo credit AP / Joshua A. Bickel.

By Anders Lorenzen

Al Gore, former US Vice President (1992-2000) in the Clinton administration, and strong advocate of tackling climate change, has delivered a strong criticism of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the hosts of COP28 – the United Nations (UN) annual climate talks. 

Attacking the UAE, Gore said that the hosts in their position as overseer of international negotiations on climate change this year were guilty of an abuse of public trust.

He questioned whether COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber, head of the UAE’s national oil company ADNOC, can be an honest broker of a climate deal. This negative opinion is quickly gaining traction.

“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,” Gore said.

To back up his argument, Al Gore unveiled data showing that the UAE’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 7.5% in 2022 from the previous year, compared to a 1.5% percent rise in the entire world. Those data came from a coalition he co-founded called Climate TRACE, which uses artificial intelligence and satellite data to track carbon emissions of specific companies.

Gore ran unsuccessfully on a strong climate change ticket for the US presidency in 2000, as the Democratic Party’s nominee. He also challenged the presence of oil and gas companies at the annual climate summit, and their promotion of technologies like carbon capture as a way to cleanse the emissions of fossil fuels. 

He also cautioned against believing the words of CEO of Exxon Mobil, Darren Woods, one of many fossil fuel lobbies who spoke to the conference. Gore said that the oil giant’s engagement does not brush away its history of resistance to climate policies, and added “He should not be taken seriously. He’s protecting his profits and placing them in a higher priority than the survival of the human civilization.”

He added his support for the use of the contentious language about phasing out fossil fuels.  He urged delegates to agree to its use in the final text issued at the summit without caveats or mentions of carbon capture technology.

He declared “The current state of the technology for carbon capture and direct air capture is a research project. 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”.

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