UAE planned to use COP28 climate talks to make oil deals
The briefings show the UAE also prepared talking points on commercial opportunities for its state renewable energy company, Masdar, ahead of meetings with 20 countries, including the UK, United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kenya.
COP28 is the UN’s latest round of global climate talks. This year it is being hosted by the UAE in Dubai and is due to be attended by 167 world leaders, including the Pope and King Charles III.
These summits are the world’s most important meetings to discuss how to tackle climate change.
The hope is COP28 will help limit the long-term global temperature rise to 1.5C, which the UN’s climate science body says is crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But that will require drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, it says – a 43% reduction by 2030 from 2019 levels.
As part of the preparations for the conference, the UAE’s COP28 team arranged a series of ministerial meetings with governments from around the world.
The meetings were to be hosted by the president of COP28, Dr Sultan al-Jaber. Each year the host nation appoints a representative to be the COP president.
Meeting representatives of foreign governments is one of the core responsibilities of COP presidents. It is the president’s job to encourage countries to be as ambitious as possible in their efforts to cut emissions.
The documents contain a summary of objectives for the meetings, including information about the minister or official Dr Jaber was due to meet and what issues he should raise in the UAE’s efforts to progress the climate talks.
For more than two dozen countries, the documents also contain talking points drawn up by Adnoc and Masdar:
- The Brazilian environment minister was to be asked for help “securing alignment and endorsement” for Adnoc’s bid for Latin America’s largest oil and gas processing company, Braskem. Earlier this month, Adnoc made a $2.1bn (£1.7bn) offer to buy a key stake
- Germany was to be told by Adnoc: “We stand ready to continue our LNG supplies”
- Adnoc suggested the oil-producing nations of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela be told “there is no conflict between the sustainable development of any country’s natural resources and its commitment to climate change”
The BBC has seen an email exchange in which COP28 staff members are told Adnoc and Masdar talking points “always need to be included” in the briefing notes. The COP28 team said it was “simply untrue” that staff had been told this.
It is not clear on how many occasions Dr Jaber and his colleagues raised the talking points in COP28 meetings with foreign governments.
We know, on at least one occasion, a nation followed up on commercial discussions brought up in a meeting arranged by the UAE’s COP28 team.
However, 12 nations have told the BBC there was either no discussion of commercial activities during meetings, or a meeting did not take place.
These included the UK. The leaked documents show the COP28 president had been briefed to “seek government support” to more than double the size of a wind farm off the coast of Sheringham in Norfolk in which Masdar has a stake.