New York (AFP) – The former UN climate change chief said Thursday that she has “lost patience” with fossil fuel companies and that they should stay away from crucial talks in Dubai if they refuse to be part of the solution.
First modification: 09/22/2023 – 00:49
Christiana Figueres, one of the key negotiators of the historic 2015 Paris agreement, said at the “Climate Changes Everything” conference, parallel to the UN General Assembly, that the industry failed to reinvest profits in the development of renewable energy.
“Instead of doing everything they do and applying their amazing engineering capabilities, they’ve actually been doing the opposite,” Figueres said.
Oil and gas companies have been delaying their decarbonization commitments by paying handsome dividends to shareholders and pressuring governments to backtrack on their climate commitments.
Asked whether he would welcome such companies to the Dubai talks that begin in November, Figueres said that would depend on whether “they are there to help and accelerate decarbonization” or if “they are literally operating against those objectives.”
The issue of industry participation is an enormously controversial point, especially when the designated president of these dialogues, the Emirati Sultan Al Jaber, is an oil executive.
Figueres said that the sector from which the COP president comes was not as important as fulfilling his mandate, and in this perspective he offered some cautious praise.
While she was initially skeptical that Al Jaber would separate his country’s interests from those of the entire world, “lately I have seen him moving in that direction, which I welcome.”
“I think he understood the international, multilateral political responsibility that comes with the presidency,” said Figueres.
Al Jaber spoke at a UN climate summit on Wednesday where he acknowledged that “the phasing out of fossil fuels is inevitable” and “essential.”
© 2023 AFP
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