John Kerry tells AP he backs UAE oil chief overseeing COP28

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — U.S. local weather envoy John Kerry backs the United Arab Emirates’ resolution to nominate the CEO of a state-run oil firm to preside over the upcoming U.N. local weather negotiations in Dubai, citing his work on renewable power tasks.

In an interview Sunday with The Related Press, the previous U.S. secretary of state acknowledged that the Emirates and different international locations counting on fossil fuels to fund their state coffers face discovering “some balance” forward.

Nonetheless, he dismissed the concept Sultan al-Jaber’s appointment needs to be robotically disqualified resulting from him main the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Co. Activists, nonetheless, equated it to asking “arms dealers to lead peace talks” when authorities introduced his nomination Thursday.

“I think that Dr. Sultan al-Jaber is a terrific choice because he is the head of the company. That company knows it needs to transition,” Kerry mentioned after attending an power convention within the Emirati capital. “He knows — and the leadership of the UAE is committed to transitioning.”

Nonetheless, Abu Dhabi plans to extend its manufacturing of crude oil from 4 million barrels a day as much as 5 million even whereas the UAE guarantees to be carbon impartial by 2050 — a goal that is still tough to evaluate and one which the Emirates nonetheless hasn’t absolutely defined the way it will attain.

Kerry pointed to a speech al-Jaber gave Saturday in Abu Dhabi, wherein he known as for the upcoming COP — or Convention of Events — to maneuver “from goals to getting it done across mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage.” Al-Jaber additionally warned that the world “must be honest with ourselves about how much progress we have actually achieved, and how much further and faster we truly need to go.”

“He made it absolutely clear we’re not moving fast enough. We have to reduce emissions. We have to begin to accelerate this transition significantly,” Kerry mentioned. “So I have great confidence that the right issues are going to be on the table, that they’re going to respond to them and lead countries to recognize their responsibility.”

Annually, the nation internet hosting the U.N. negotiations nominates an individual to chair the talks. Hosts sometimes choose a veteran diplomat because the talks might be extremely tough to steer between competing nations and their pursuits. The nominee’s place as “COP president” is confirmed by delegates initially of the talks, normally with out objections.

Al-Jaber is a trusted confidant of UAE chief Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He additionally led a once-ambitious venture to erect a $22 billion “carbon-neutral” metropolis on Abu Dhabi’s outskirts — an effort later pared again after the worldwide monetary disaster that struck the Emirates onerous starting in 2008. Immediately, he additionally serves because the chairman of Masdar, a clear power firm that grew out of the venture.

Skepticism stays amongst activists over al-Jaber, nonetheless. A name by international locations, together with India and the US, for a part down of oil and pure fuel by no means reached a public dialogue throughout COP27 within the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in November.

Activists fear that COP being held in a Mideast nation reliant on fossil gasoline gross sales for a second yr in a row may see one thing comparable occur within the Emirates.

Requested about that concern, Kerry mentioned: “I don’t believe UAE was involved in changing that.”

“There’s going to be a level of scrutiny — and and I think that’s going to be very constructive,” the previous U.S. senator and 2004 presidential contender mentioned. “It’s going to help people, you know, stay on the line here.”

“I think this is a time, a new time of accountability,” he added.

Nonetheless, the Emirates and the U.S. preserve shut army relations, whatever the federation making coverage choices disliked by Washington.

Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port is the most-used port of name for the U.S. Navy outdoors of America. Some 3,500 American troops are deployed within the nation, together with at Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Air Base and a Navy outpost in Fujairah. The UAE has some $29 billion in pending protection gross sales with the People, together with buying its most-advanced air protection system recognized by the acronym THAAD.

For Europeans particularly, Russia’s struggle on Ukraine has led to a looking on the continent’s reliance of Moscow’s pure fuel to warmth their properties within the winter. Although aided by an unusually heat winter, Europeans are attempting to supply fuel elsewhere whereas additionally in search of renewables to fill no matter gaps they’ll.

“No country is advantaged by having a petro-dictator be able to control their future and their prices and their economy with reckless behavior,” Kerry mentioned, referring to Russian chief Vladimir Putin.

“To the degree there’s something that’s coming out of it that will change things for the better, that is Europe’s deep commitment to big reductions in emissions and to a whole shift in the nature of their energy supply,” Kerry mentioned.

Comply with Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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