18 Reports Proving Big Polluters Captured COP28

FILE PHOTO: A person walks past a "#COP28" sign during The Changemaker Majlis, a one-day CEO-level thought leadership workshop focused on climate action, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 1, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo

On 26 January 2023, two weeks after Sultan Al Jaber was appointed president of COP28, 450 civil society organizations asked the UN Secretary-General for his dismissal. (https://kickbigpollutersout.org/) Al Jaber's dual role as COP president and CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) "threatens the legitimacy and efficacy" of the global climate summit. The NGOs said the COPs will always fail to deliver as long as Big Polluters are allowed to write the rules.

Less than a year later, with the oil boss steering COP28,  the civil organizations have been proved right.

The evidence is overwhelming.

1. In April 2023, data produced for the Guardian from the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (Gogel) database showed the UAE had the world's third-biggest net zero-busting plans for oil and gas expansion. Gogel is a public database that provides a detailed breakdown of the activities of oil and gas companies worldwide. The CEO of ADNOC, Sultan Al Jaber, was overseeing expansion to produce oil and gas equivalent to 7.5 billion barrels of oil. (https://www.theguardian.com/)

2. In May 2023, the Centre for Climate Reporting and the Guardian revealed that ADNOC employees attempted to greenwash Sultan Al Jaber's Wikipedia profile. (https://www.theguardian.com/)

3. ADNOC was able to read emails to and from the COP28 office and was consulted on how to respond to media, the Guardian revealed in June. (https://www.theguardian.com/)

4. An analysis of industry production data released by Global Witness in July 2023 showed that UAE's national oil company was on course to produce oil and gas that, when burned for energy, will emit 11.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. China – the world's largest polluter – emitted 12.4 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021. (https://www.globalwitness.org/)

5. The UAE, host of the COP28 summit, set out "insufficient" plans to tackle its contribution to climate change, the Climate Action Tracker research consortium said in July. According to the research group, the UAE was planning to increase fossil fuel production and consumption, which is inconsistent with limiting warming to 1.5C." (https://climateactiontracker.org/)

6. In August, Global Witness released a new analysis showing that ADNOC failed to acknowledge the full extent of its carbon footprint. Al-Jaber's company produced 14 times more emissions last year than it reported, a classic case of hypocritical fossil fuel firms saying one thing and doing another, the international NGO said. (https://www.globalwitness.org/)

7. Research published by Global Witness in September showed that ADNOC  was planning to spend more than $100 billion (more than $1 billion every month) on oil and gas production this decade. The research said it was nearly seven times higher than its commitment to decarbonization projects over the same timeframe. (https://www.globalwitness.org/)

8. Leaked internal records obtained by the Centre for Climate Reporting and the Guardian in September showed that senior executives from ADNOC were working with the COP28 team. (https://climate-reporting.org/)

9. According to an analysis published by Global Witness in October, ADNOC is set to increase the emissions from its oil and gas products by more than 40% by 2030. (https://www.globalwitness.org/)

10. An ADNOC internal communications strategy document obtained by Politico in November 2023 outlined efforts to downplay the company's plans to expedite drilling while promoting its forays into capturing carbon and planting mangroves. The document warned of a "high probability" that the company "does not deliver on its decarbonization roadmap projects." (https://www.politico.com/)

11. A France Press investigation published in November revealed that US-based consultancy McKinsey was using its position as a key advisor to COP28 to push the interests of its big oil and gas clients, undermining efforts to tackle climate change. (https://www.france24.com/)

12. In November 2023, Climate Analytics calculated the climate-related damages from the emissions of those 25 oil and gas companies and found they were responsible for approximately US$20 trillion worth of destruction. Big Oil and Gas could have paid for their damages and still made 10 trillion USD. (https://climateanalytics.org/)

13. ADNOC is on a clear collision course with the 1.5 °C goal, data revealed by more than 50 NGOs from the Gogel database showed in November. With 8.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent, ADNOC has the highest absolute overshoot of any company in the world. (https://www.urgewald.org/)

14. A Global Witness analysis released in November revealed that it would take ADNOC over 340 years to remove the CO2 it will produce by 2030. (https://www.globalwitness.org/)

15. Fields run by ADNOC burned gas nearly daily despite having committed 20 years ago to a policy of zero routine flaring, the Guardian revealed in November based on satellite monitoring. (https://www.theguardian.com/)

16. Sultan Al Jaber planned to use its role as the host of UN climate talks as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals, the Centre for Climate Reporting and the BBC revealed in November. (https://www.bbc.com/)

17. On 3 December 2023, Climate Trace unveiled data showing that the UAE's greenhouse gas emissions rose 7.5% in 2022 from the previous year, compared to a 1.5% percent rise worldwide. Climate Trace uses artificial intelligence and satellite data to track the carbon emissions of specific companies. (https://www.climatetrace.org/)

18. On 3 December 2023, the Center for Climate Reporting and the Guardian published a recording of Sultan Al Jaber denying a core part of climate science. There is "no science" behind demands for phasing out of fossil fuels the COP28 President said during a live online event on 21 November 2023. (https://climate-reporting.org/)