Egypt - A new investigation by Global Witness alleges that UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) sought to conclude nearly $100bn in oil, gas, and petrochemical deals in 2023 during the COP28 presidency, a five-fold increase over the previous year. The deals were reportedly negotiated with entities in the UAE or owned by Azerbaijan, which will host the upcoming COP29.

This revelation comes amidst criticism that the UAE, host of COP28 in November 2023, for assignment of the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Sultan Al Jaber, to chair the conference, by concluding “oil and gas deals” that conflict with the goal of the conference, which is to protect the environment and combat climate change.

The investigation, which Daily News Egypt obtained a copy of, reveals details of 20 major international fossil fuel deals that ADNOC sought to implement in 2023. These deals were negotiated with entities resident in the UAE or owned by Azerbaijan. Brazil hosts the 30th COP, and the last COP hosts are Egypt and the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1993, Global Witness is a global non-governmental organization that seeks to sever the connections between the exploitation of natural resources, violence, poverty, corruption, and violations of human rights across the globe.

Coinciding with the start of the Bonn Session, where the UAE will hand over the presidency of the conference to Azerbaijan, the analysis reveals details of 20 major international fossil fuel deals that ADNOC sought to implement in 2023.

Azerbaijan, the host nation of COP29, has announced plans to privatize a portion of the state-run oil and gas company SOCAR in the weeks leading up to the Baku summit in November. This is just one example of the new evidence from Global Witness showing how Azerbaijan appears to be trying to mimic ADNOC’s approach to climate negotiations.

Building on its August 2023 acquisition of a 30% equity position in Azerbaijan’s Absheron gas field, ADNOC and TotalEnergies, the French oil giant, are working together on this project. As the final week of COP approached, ADNOC declared that it had reached a deal with Azerbaijan to investigate fossil hydrogen generation.

“COP28 was a fossil fuel festival and COP29 looks to be going in the same direction. The world simply cannot keep wasting these opportunities to tackle a climate crisis that is already wreaking havoc. It’s time big polluters were kicked out of COP for good,” says Patrick Galey, Senior Investigator at Global Witness.

He added that even more concerning is the apparent fact that COP28 appears to have given other petrostates a dark script to borrow from. “We are now considering the risk of successive COPs being seized for the benefit of large polluters and their financial gain, as the UAE hands the reins off to Azerbaijan. While this is going on, the world is coming perilously near to exceeding 1.5C, and severe weather events like floods and wildfires are causing immense misery throughout the globe.”

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