OPEC Leaders Advocate for Balanced Energy Transition at U.N. MENA Climate Week

Sultan al-Jaber, who will preside over COP28, conveyed optimism, envisioning "transformational outcomes" from the summit, both regionally and globally.

UAE Industry Minister Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber greeted attendees ahead of a meeting between Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and leaders present at the Amazon Summit in Brazil on August 9, 2023.

At a subsequent gathering, influential OPEC nations emphasized the significance of oil and gas in the broader climate discourse, advocating for their continued role in a sustainable energy transition.

During the U.N. MENA climate week in Riyadh, energy representatives from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iraq – the three predominant OPEC members – convened to discuss climate issues.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, representing the trilateral assembly, expressed that as leading hydrocarbon producers, their duty extends to supplying the world with sufficient resources.

This ensures that the transition to cleaner energy sources remains economically reasonable.

The upcoming COP28 climate summit, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 in Dubai, will serve as a platform for nations to intensify efforts against escalating global temperatures, which have recently witnessed records in heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts.

Current data suggests global endeavors are lagging, struggling to maintain temperature rises below the 2°C threshold above pre-industrial levels.

Sultan al-Jaber, who will preside over COP28, conveyed optimism, envisioning “transformational outcomes” from the summit, both regionally and globally.

Despite his role, environmentalists question his leadership due to the UAE’s prominence in the oil industry and his affiliation with state oil titan, ADNOC.

In response, Jaber has consistently championed a comprehensive approach to COP, integrating the fossil fuel sector into the climate dialogue. He believes they can contribute positively through decarbonisation initiatives.

With COP28 on the horizon, nations are polarized. While some vehemently demand a cessation of fossil fuel usage, others argue for the ongoing utility of coal, oil, and gas, provided they’re amalgamated with emissions-reducing technologies.

Al-Jaber highlighted that 17 out of the past 27 COP meetings were held in fossil fuel-rich countries, underlining energy’s ubiquitous importance.

Echoing similar sentiments, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman emphasized the enduring need for hydrocarbons, cautioning against vilifying the industry and affirming its continued relevance.