Sultan al-Jaber: A quick guide to the COP28 president

05 12 2023 | 04:19Press / BBC

He is an engineer, businessman and politician from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As chair of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), Sultan al-Jaber leads a company that pumped 2.7m barrels of oil a day in 2021, with plans to double that by 2027.

Mr Jaber has denied a BBC News report that he planned to use the COP presidency as an opportunity to strike oil and gas deals with 15 nations.


His view is that fossil fuels are the heart of the climate crisis so it makes sense to persuade that industry to change from the inside.

"Never in history has a COP president confronted the oil industry, let alone the fact that he's a CEO of an oil company," he told the Guardian.

He is also the ideal person to push for action, he argues, because as chairman of state renewable energy company Masdar, he has overseen the expansion of clean technologies like wind and solar power.


Many polticians object to someone whose day job is extracting more fossil fuels also being responsible for trying to secure game-changing climate deals.

Greta Thunberg described the appointment as "completely ridiculous" and said it called into question the entire UN climate process.

More than 130 lawmakers from the US and EU wrote to the UN calling for his removal.


The UK government defended Mr Jaber, with Minister for Net Zero Graham Stuart describing him as "an outstanding individual".

Laurence Tubiana, a key architect of the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, says Mr Jaber's team is "uniquely placed" to persuade the fossil fuel industry to buy into a green energy future.


Countries committed at least $420m for areas suffering the effects of global warming, in what Mr Jaber described as a "unique, unprecedented achievement" and a "very good start" for the summit.

"We have delivered history today," he told delegates to widespread applause as the motion passed on the first day of COP28, three decades after the idea was first mooted.

Mr Jaber also urged countries to promise to make deeper cuts to their emissions, work together to triple renewable power and double energy efficiency.


Mr Jaber is currently the Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of the UAE. He has also held other cabinet minister roles and has been the country's chief climate diplomat since 2020.

As chairman of the National Media Council from 2015-2020, he oversaw the UAE's media, which ranks poorly on press freedom.

Born in 1973, the 50-year-old oil exec is not a member of any of the six ruling families of the seven Emirates but has risen up the ranks of Emirati society.