Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Thursday knocked the United Arab Emirates’s (UAE) “completely ridiculous” appointment of a state-run oil company chief to lead United Nations climate talks in Dubai at the end of this year.
“Lobbyists have been influencing these conferences since forever, and this just puts a very clear face to it. … It’s completely ridiculous,” Thunberg said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, according to CNBC.
Climate activists including Thunberg have critiqued the choice of Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., to helm the COP28 climate talks at the end of the year, arguing that al-Jaber’s crude oil–pumping company is a conflict of interest.
The UAE, which is one of the planet’s top oil producers, has also come under scrutiny as the host of the U.N. climate talks, since fossil fuels are the main driver of climate change.
John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, said earlier in the week that he backs al-Jaber as the COP28 host, calling the UAE pick a “terrific choice” and highlighting that al-Jaber has been involved in a number of renewable energy projects.
The UAE has promised to be carbon neutral by 2050, despite plans to up its output of crude oil.
Days later, she was at the swanky Swiss town of Davos for the World Economic Forum, participating in the panel with fellow climate activists.
This year’s Conference of Parties, or COP28, is set to be held in Dubai’s Expo City from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.