COP28: Council member resigns after revelations about oil contracts

DUBAI (Reuters) – United Nations climate conference (COP28) advisory board member Hilda Heine resigned on Friday after reports emerged that the United Arab Emirates had tried to take advantage of its role as a country host to strike deals on oil and gas during the summit, according to his resignation letter seen by Reuters.

The former president of the Marshall Islands, a country vulnerable to climate change due to its low altitude, described this information as “deeply disappointing” and likely to undermine the credibility of the multilateral negotiation process.

“These actions undermine the integrity of the COP presidency and the process as a whole,” Hilda Heine wrote in a letter sent to COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber.

The only way to restore confidence in the process, she said, is to produce an outcome that demonstrates the UAE’s commitment “to phasing out fossil fuels.”

Ahmed al-Jaber rejected the information reported by the BBC and which is based on documents collected by the Center for Climate Reporting (CCR).

In response to this resignation, a spokesperson for the COP28 presidency declared himself “extremely disappointed”.

“We have appreciated her advice throughout the year and wish she had been with us here in the UAE to celebrate the adoption of a fund that will support vulnerable island states and those most affected by the effects of climate,” he said.

The COP28 negotiations began Thursday with an agreement on the creation of a “loss and damage” fund which has already mobilized millions of dollars.

(Reporting by Valerie Valerie Volcovici; French version Victor Goury-Laffont, editing by Kate Entringer)

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