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US, European lawmakers call for removal of head of UN climate talks over fossil fuel link

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BERLIN – Scores of members of Congress and the European Parliament called on Tuesday to replace the designated chair of the next United Nations climate summit with ties to the fossil fuel sector and sharply limit the industry’s influence in the upcoming talks.

The United Arab Emirates has been criticized by environmental advocates for nominating Sultan Al-Jaber, head of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, to preside over the November 30 – December 12 meeting, known as COP28, in Dubai. Has been done.

In an open letter, the lawmakers called on UN Secretary-General António Guterres, US President Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UN climate chief Simon Stills “in diplomatic efforts to secure the return of the COP28-designated president”. urged to engage”. ,

Citing the presence of hundreds of oil and gas industry lobbyists at last year’s climate talks in Egypt, lawmakers called on leaders to “take immediate steps to limit the influence of polluting industries, especially major fossil fuel industry players”. Called to raise, whose business strategies are clear.” at odds with the central goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Nearly three dozen US senators and members of the House signed the letter, including both progressive and mainstream Democrats and independents. Veteran US Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse helped organize the letter. Those in attendance included US Rep. Katie Porter, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Jeff Merkle.

The signatures of the European Parliament came mostly from the Greens, Social Democrats and members of the Left, but also from independents and a conservative legislator.

Al-Jaber’s office responded to the letter by pointing to his experience in attending 11 previous UN climate conferences, his pledge to transition ADNOC’s business away from fossil fuels, and his role in founding renewable energy company Masdar .

“We believe that Dr. Sultan’s experience as an engineer, working across the energy spectrum, combined with his experience as a senior global industry leader, are assets that will enable the UAE’s transformative approach to COP28 Will help you run.”

US climate envoy John Kerry has in the past described al-Jaber as a “fantastic choice” to chair the talks.