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Top UAE oil company executives working with COP28 team, show leaked documents

Story Highlights
  • The development comes at a time when the UAE is ramping up its campaign surrounding the summit, despite obvious doubts over its legitimacy

Ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) summit scheduled to be held in Dubai later this year, senior executives from UAE’s national oil company are said to be working with the COP28 team, providing ‘support’ to handle the all-important climate summit, a Guardian report has claimed. 

The publication, citing a leaked COP28 communications strategy document stated that two PR professionals from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) were currently providing “additional support” to the COP28 team running the summit. The development comes at a time when the UAE is ramping up its campaign surrounding the summit, despite obvious doubts surrounding its legitimacy. 

The two executives identified as Philip Robinson and Paloma Berenguer have a combined experience of 28 years in the fossil fuel industry, according to their LinkedIn accounts. Prior to working for Adnoc, they worked with another fossil fuel giant – Shell. 
The government of UAE, on whose soil the climate summit will take place, controls six per cent of the world’s oil reserves. A country with heavy reliance on fossil fuel is needed to take a non-controversial line when hosting a summit of such significance. However, it appointed Al Jaber – a fossil fuel boss and Adnoc’s chief executive as the head of COP28. 

Not the first controversy surrounding the summit

Earlier this year, reports claimed that members of Jaber’s team edited Wikipedia pages to ‘control the narrative’ amid criticism of an oil boss leading the main summit aimed at tackling the climate crisis.

One of the edited Wikipedia entries includes adding an editorial that said Al Jaber was “precisely the kind of ally the climate movement needs”. The editors also removed reference to a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline deal. 

Also read | Greenwashing at finest? COP28 president’s Wikipedia entries being edited

After WION carried out the report, COP28 reached out and stated Al Jaber’s page was absolutely accurate and that information about the posts he had handled were in the public domain. 

“Every business and public figure revisits Wikipedia pages and reviews the content to ensure that it is up to date and accurate. That is how this platform is built. Dr Al Jaber’s Wikipedia page represents his over 30-year career. Everything in his Wikipedia page is absolutely accurate,” read the statement. 

However, a few months later, another report claimed that Adnoc was able to read emails ‘to and from’ the COP28 climate summit office and was consulted on how to respond to a media inquiry. 


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