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ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates wants the COP28 climate conference it is hosting this year to be practical and show solidarity between the global north and south that “leaves no one behind”, the country’s oil chief and designated COP28 president said.

In a speech on Saturday to the Global Energy Forum, Sultan al-Jaber, head of state oil giant ADNOC and UAE climate envoy, called for scaling up renewables, nuclear energy, hydrogen, carbon capture, energy efficiency and new technologies, among others.

Jaber’s appointment to lead the climate summit has fuelled activists’ worries that big industry is hijacking the world’s response to the global warming crisis.

The UAE, a major OPEC oil exporter, will be the second Arab state to host the climate conference after Egypt in 2022. Campaigners and some delegates criticised COP27, saying fossil fuel producers had watered down emission reduction ambitions.

The UAE and other Gulf energy producers have called for a realistic transition in which hydrocarbons would keep a role in energy security while making commitments to decarbonisation.

UAE names ADNOC chief Jaber as COP28 climate conference president

Jaber, who is also minister of industry and technology, said the UAE had a “clear sense of responsibility and a great sense of urgency” in hosting COP28, noting the country had invested $50 billion in renewable energy and clean technology globally and plans to invest another $50 billion in years ahead.

“We need to ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind,” he said, adding that low carbon growth was the future.

He highlighted the need to triple renewable energy generation by 2030 and double low carbon hydrogen production, while transforming food and agriculture systems.

He said adaptation finance for the global south - funds to help countries adapt to climate change - should be doubled to $40 billion annually by 2025, and urged more affordable and more accessible climate finance.

Qatar’s minister of state for energy Saad al-Kaabi, speaking at a separate panel at the event in Abu Dhabi, criticised what he described as demonisation of hydrocarbons and noted that coal was being used at record levels.

“Coal is the biggest emitter by far and I see a lot of attack on oil and gas companies and demonising oil and gas companies, I don’t see a similar attack on the biggest polluter on the planet,” Kaabi said.

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