Every COP must be free from the polluting influence of the fossil fuel industry: a letter to Dutch ministers

Article: 02.02.23, Netherlands, Wendy Klaasse

On January 11, news broke that Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), will be overseeing the upcoming round of global climate negotiations as president of COP28, hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is no cause for celebration: this decision threatens the legitimacy and efficacy of COP28. 

If we have any hope of addressing the climate crisis, every COP must be free from the polluting influence of the fossil fuel industry.  That’s why Simavi, along with 30+ other Dutch civil society organisations did an urgent call today to Dutch ministers Rob Jetten (Climate and Energy) and Liesje Schreinemacher (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation).

Credibility of UNFCCC processes threatened

In this letter we ask them as Minister of Climate & Energy and Minister of Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation to speak out on behalf of the Dutch government on the appointment of Sultan Al Jaber as president of the upcoming climate summit, and the interference of the interests of fossil industries in UNFCCC processes in general. 

The global climate summit, Conference of the Parties (COP), is organised by the United Nations body that is responsible for global climate change related negotiations and summits: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The letter follows an urgent call from more than 450 civil society organizations and networks worldwide (including Simavi) to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ), Simon Stiell.

Appointing a fossil fuel executive amidst an intensifying climate crisis where millions of lives and ecosystems are on the line, exemplifies how insidious Big Polluters’ influence on climate policy is. It also points to a deeper problem—fossil fuel interests threaten UNFCCC credibility.

The COP’s legitimacy is on the line

That’s why more than 450 organisations have called on the UN and UNFCCC to implement new policy frameworks to ensure that their processes start prioritizing the establishment of harmony between people and planet and to stop serving profits of fossil fuel companies. Especially those already facing the consequences of climate change in their daily lives and livelihoods already. It’s time for the UNFCCC to deliver the long overdue equitable phaseout of fossil fuels.

More concrete, we demand the following steps to be taken:

  • That Big Polluters cannot write the rules.
  • No more Big Polluters’ bankrolling climate action.
  • Polluters out and People in
  • Reset the system to protect people and the planet, not Big Polluters.

The Netherlands must speak out

The Netherlands is one of the negotiating countries in the UNFCCC process, so it is important that they take a stand and speak out. In today's letter we therefore ask our ministers Rob Jetten and Liesje Schreinemacher for their support and for their commitment to take this statement to the relevant negotiation tables.

Read the text of the letter to minister Rob Jetten en minister Liesje Schreinemacherbelow (in Dutch).

Esther Oeganda

Everbody has the human right to safe water and sanitation.

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