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Petrostates Must Take the Lead on Climate Finance

If COP28 is to be judged a success, the UAE, as the summit’s host, and other hydrocarbon producers should promise to dedicate some of the windfall oil and gas profits they earned last year to accelerating the green transition in the Global South. Doing so could encourage historic and current emitters to pay their fair share.

LONDON – If the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai is to be judged a success, it will have to bring an urgently needed breakthrough on climate finance. Sultan Al Jaber of the United Arab Emirates, the president of this year’s COP, and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose country will assume the G20 presidency in December, must work in tandem to establish a facility that would provide the Global South with at least $1 trillion annually to invest in development and climate-change mitigation and adaptation.

Al Jaber has already recognized the importance of fixing climate finance, which he listed as one of the four pillars of COP28. Moreover, in August, he expressed support for reforming international financial institutions, as “all forms of finance must be more available, more accessible, and more affordable,” and called on donor countries with overdue pledges to “show me the money.”

As CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Al Jaber has a unique opportunity to ensure that the UAE, other Gulf states, and Norway – all beneficiaries of high energy prices – lead the way in bridging the climate financing gap faced by low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Not only are these poorer countries transferring billions of dollars to oil-producing states, which has contributed to the recent rise in extreme poverty; they also suffer significantly from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels.