UN Secretary-General António Guterres slammed the fossil fuel industry and COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber on Thursday following 10 largely-unproductive days of preparatory talks in Bonn, Germany. Guterres demanded the fossil fuel industry “cease and desist influence peddling … to knee-cap” progress on climate change. He also sharply criticized those trying to focus purely on fossil fuel emissions, describing them as “more efficient planet-wreckers,” comparing their actions to Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Christ.
Guterres all-but-directly criticized Sultan al-Jaber, COP 28 president CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, for his claims that fossil fuels can continue to be burned so long as their pollution is captured or offset. “The problem is not simply fossil fuel emissions,” Guterres said, “It’s fossil fuels – period.” Criticism of, and concerns over, al-Jabar’s presidency and the UAE’s hosting of COP28 have been mounting for some time. “Last year, the oil and gas industry reaped a record $4 trillion windfall in net income. … Yet for every dollar it spends on oil and gas drilling and exploration, only 4 cents went to clean energy and carbon capture — combined. … Trading the future for thirty pieces of silver is immoral,” he added.
Climate and transparency advocates did secure a victory, however, Thursday, in the UN climate office’s announcement that COP28 delegates, including fossil fuel lobbyists, will be required to disclose their affiliations. (Guterres: AP, Reuters, E&E $, Climate Home; Bonn failure: Bloomberg $, Politico Pro $; COP28 leadup: Context, Climate Home; Lobbyist disclosure: The Guardian, AP)