by Angelo Kairos Dela Cruz, ICSC Deputy Executive Director

Full response of ICSC deputy executive director Angelo Kairos Dela Cruz for the BusinessMirror story entitled “Groups flag appointment of Abu Dhabi oil boss Al Jaber to lead climate talks” by Lenie Lectura published last January 19, 2023.

Representation of the Conference of Parties (COP) presidency by a leader of the global petroleum industry is clearly problematic, but it also needs to be said that the influence of the fossil fuel industry has been overwhelmingly damaging since the first round of climate negotiations began almost three decades ago. Such leadership of COP28 is thus not new, but certainly we see it as the newest, boldest foothold the industry has accomplished, and there can be no doubt the intention is to stymie progress in the talks to make fossil industry companies accountable to the global public.

We recognize it is the right and privilege of the United Arab Emirates as the host country to appoint the COP28 leadership. But as its government knows, the ultimate barometer is how closely the Dubai round of talks will be measured to its adherence to implementing and advancing the Paris Agreement. ICSC intends to closely engage the UAE leadership of COP28 to help make sure it tackles the increasingly serious diplomatic challenge of addressing climate change now and for the long term.

As with previous COPs, it is just as vital to remind everyone concerned that decisive, strategic climate action – or the lack thereof – is the responsibility of all stakeholders who see the climate crisis as the most critical challenge humanity has ever faced. It’s not just the UAE leadership that bears this weight. We need to make sure our respective governments and institutions deliver what the youth of today expect.

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