Nov 28, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – COP28 to be held in Dubai is seemingly starting to frazzle from the heat of the exposure that comes from some leaked documents. It is going to be difficult to take this conference seriously, given the priorities of the host country, the UAE. The leaks point toits efforts to set itself up with big fossil fuel players for big deals in presummit groundwork. The leaked documents, spotlight the man in charge of the COP28 conference, Dr. Sultan al-Jaber, raise concerns about whether this edition of COP was dealt a body blow from which it may not recover. Future COP summits could suffer from the stain and fallout.
In the simplest description, COP28, like its predecessors, is supposed to be focused on genuine discussions leading to meaningful outcomes in the battle with climate change and its devastating effects around the world. But now there are these leaked documents about interest and invitations to have discussions featuring hoped for business deals with some of the bigger attendees at COP28. To make matters worse, it is not about national leaders from 167 countries using the opportunity to network and make mutually beneficial arrangements with their counterparts, but host nation, the UAE, leading the charge in this regard. In the normal course of planning and preparing for the climate change summit, meetings are conducted around the world with governments, with how to manage climate change the first and biggest item on any agenda. At least, that is what should have been.
Brazil, China, Egypt, and Germany were among the over two dozen countries identified the leaked documents in what the UAE host team has called “talking points” and “private.” Some other countries named said that there were no discussions about business. In view of the leaked documents, a heavy pall has been cast on COP28, with the UAE looking less than credible, and rather twisted in its objectives. Peru’s Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who headed the COP20 summit in Lima in 2014 did not mince the words he shared with the BBC. “The president of the COP is the leader of the world, is trying to build consensus on behalf of the planet. If any president of the COP tries to bring a particular interest, [including] commercial interest, that could mean the failure of the COP.”
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)hit the nail on the head when it noted that the “cardinal principle” for COP presidents and their teams is “the obligation of impartiality“. And further, that “COP presidents are “expected to act without bias, prejudice, favouritism, caprice, self-interest, preference or deference, strictly based on sound, independent and fair judgement” (“COP28: UAE planned to use conference to make oil deals” (BBC online, November 28).
Clearly, the UAE hosts could be called to the carpet for failing to display to the best extent possible some, if not all, of those cardinal principles. A number of fair questions, therefore, follow in the wake of the documents leaked. Are the leading oil producing countries sincere about tackling climate change? Are countries heavily dependent on fossil fuel sources for their energy needs committed to doing their part to combat climate change? Are these climate change summits, with their COP objectives, COP agendas, and public COP talk about what to do or the devastations inflicted globally, particularly on struggling Third World countries, for real effort and real change? Or are they patented hypocrisies, with COP28 in the UAE standing as an exhibit of self-enrichment and farce?
The leaked documents give off a smell, and as much as Dr. Jaber and his team attempt wriggling justifications about “private” and what was and was not discussed, and what is not in conflict with climate objectives, something ugly sticks. The poorer nations of the world that have been harmed by global warming contributions to climate change are asked to make costly sacrifices that they can ill afford. But there are the rich nations putting their heads together to lay the foundations for deals to benefit themselves still more. The countries that were not part of the “private” conversation should ask themselves what they are doing at COP28. The planet is endangered, and men are prepping via backroom deals.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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