A UN’s former climate chief has called for an exclusion of Fossil fuel companies in the Cop28 climate summit if they continue to block climate action.
“If they are going to be there only to be obstructors, and only to put spanners into the system, they should not be there,” said Christiana Figueres, who was said to have been pivotal to the delivery of the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015.
Figueres made the statement a day after global leaders from more than 100 national governments gathered for the United Nations’ climate ambition summit to outline new plans to curb global heating and adapt to its effects, in preparation for this fall’s Cop28.
According to reports, the remarks came as part of an interview with the NBC News anchor Zinhle Essamuah at a conference at Columbia Journalism School in New York City convened by the global journalism collaboration Covering Climate Now and its partners, including the Guardian.
In recent years, she noted that oil companies have rolled back their climate pledges and continually lobbied against climate regulations, while reaping record profits and “paying dividends” to their shareholders.
“They could have an amazing impact on accelerating decarbonization, but they’ve decided not to do it,” she said.
She further stated that though it may take a “miracle”, she is still holding out hope that some fossil fuel companies will “actually stand up and lead the herd” when it comes to climate action.
“I’m always open for miracles in this life,” said Figueres, who is also co-founder of the international climate organization Global Optimism, co-host of the podcast Outrage & Optimism, and co-author of The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.
The annual international climate summit, (Cop28 in November) will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates, a leading oil and gas producer, in Dubai. To preside over the summit, the country selected Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive of the country’s national oil company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), outraging climate advocates.
Reacting, Figueres said that she was initially concerned that Al Jaber would work to protect his nation’s interests rather than fulfilling his mandate of focusing on global collaboration. But more recently, she has developed more confidence in him as a leader.
“He is moving in that direction, which I celebrate,” she said.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.