BBC report alleges COP28 host UAE used host status to source oil and gas deals

Documents leaked to the Centre for Climate Reporting suggest UAE officials have sought to leverage their COP28 host country status to push for oil and gas deals, just as the UAE kicks off the COP28 climate talks in Dubai this Thursday.

Intriguingly, the leaked internal briefings (covering various preparatory meetings the UAE has held since July) say the country’s COP team should:

  • 🇨🇳 Tell China the UAE is “willing to jointly evaluate international LNG opportunities (Mozambique, Canada, and Australia)”
  • 🇸🇦 Tell the Saudis there’s “no conflict between sustainable development of any country’s natural resources and its commitment to climate change”, and
  • 🇩🇪 Tell the Germans the UAE “stand[s] ready to expand LNG supplies“.

In response, the UAE initially told the BBC (which co-produced the report) that “private meetings are private”, before describing the leaks as “inaccurate” and “unverified”.


Deal-making is typical of any big summit. That’s partly why so many people show up (~70,000 will be at COP28 this year).

But if these allegations are true, then we’re talking about a real aberration from the norm here. As COP host, the UAE is entrusted with stewarding global negotiations to reduce emissions, rather than milking the process for lucrative deals that would increase emissions.

The UAE has asked the world to judge it on its results this year. And that’s fair enough. But our experience suggests trust is key to getting results. And heading into COP28, trust now looks to be in short supply (unlike local oil and gas).

Latest Author Articles
Western funding for Ukraine under pressure as the war approaches its third calendar year 

The White House warned in a letter to Congress yesterday (Monday) that military and economic assistance to Ukraine will run out by the end of the year without additional funding. Failure to allocate new money would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield”, according to budget director Shalanda Young.

5 December, 2023
Court forces Panama to shut a key copper mine

Panama’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously (🇵🇦) on Tuesday that the law behind the country’s vast Cobre Panama copper mine was “unconstitutional”.

30 November, 2023
An Israel-Hamas ‘hostages-for-pause’ deal?

Hamas may soon agree to release 50-100 women and children being held as hostages in Gaza, according to Israeli, Qatari, and American officials.

21 November, 2023
You asked: Do big climate conferences work? And if not, what are the alternatives?

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) held in Paris was a success. The ‘Paris Agreement’ was remarkable insofar as the participating 196 countries agreed, by consensus, to reduce their carbon output “as soon as possible”.

9 November, 2023