Former U.S. Vice President and climate advocate Al Gore criticized the United Arab Emirates (UAE), host of the COP28 climate summit, for what he deemed an abuse of public trust in overseeing international negotiations on global warming. Speaking to Reuters at the conference in Dubai, Gore expressed skepticism about COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber, who heads the UAE’s national oil company ADNOC, being an impartial broker of a climate deal.
Gore remarked, “They are abusing the public’s trust by naming the CEO of one of the largest and least responsible oil companies in the world as head of the COP.”
During a presentation at the COP’s main plenary hall, Gore revealed data indicating a 7.5% increase in the UAE’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2022 compared to the previous year, contrasting with a 1.5% global rise. This data, sourced from the Climate TRACE coalition—a group Gore co-founded—utilizes artificial intelligence and satellite data to monitor carbon emissions from specific companies.
The UAE did not immediately respond to Gore’s comments or the TRACE data.
Gore, who previously ran for the U.S. presidency in 2000 as the Democratic Party’s nominee, criticized the presence of oil and gas companies at the annual climate summit. He particularly opposed their endorsement of technologies like carbon capture as a means of mitigating fossil fuel emissions.
Addressing the first-ever appearance of Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods at a COP conference, Gore dismissed the significance, asserting that the oil giant’s engagement doesn’t negate its historical resistance to climate policies. Gore stated, “He should not be taken seriously. He’s protecting his profits and placing them in a higher priority than the survival of human civilization.”
Exxon Mobil declined to provide a comment on Gore’s remarks.
In urging summit delegates, Gore emphasized the need for language in the final text that commits to phasing out fossil fuels without conditional statements or references to carbon capture technology. He criticized the current state of carbon capture and direct air capture technology as a long-term research project, highlighting a lack of cost reduction over the past 50 years. Gore accused fossil fuel companies of falsely presenting these technologies as readily available and economically viable.
“The current state of the technology for carbon capture and direct air capture is a research project,” Gore said. “There’s been no cost reduction for 50 years, and there is a pretense on the part of the fossil fuel companies that it is a readily available, economically viable technology.”