The oil company run by COP28 chief Sultan al-Jaber is on course to increase the emissions from its oil and gas operations by more than 40% by 2030 compared with 2023 – almost the exact opposite of what the United Nations and the world’s leading climate scientists say is needed to cap heating at 1.5ºC.
Fields operated by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) are projected to produce more than 1.3 billion barrels of oil and nearly 90 billion cubic metres of gas in 2030 alone, according to Global Witness analysis of industry data from Rystad Energy.
The end use emissions of these products – that is, when they are burned for energy or processed by industry – is calculated to be 684 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Using this production data and industry metrics on product carbon dioxide intensity, oil and gas produced by fields operated by ADNOC is likely to emit up to 487 million tonnes of CO2 this year.
This would mean ADNOC’s carbon footprint is on course to be 40.5% higher in 2030 than currently.
In order to keep the Paris Agreement temperature goal of 1.5ºC within reach, the UN says emissions must fall 43% by the end of the decade.
Reacting last month to the UN’s Global Stocktake, which measures countries’ progress on climate action, Al-Jaber explicitly called for ‘ambition and urgency to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030’.
Speaking earlier this month at the opening of an energy conference in Abu Dhabi, he said that delivering a 43% cut in emissions ‘over the next seven years… is simply respecting the science.’
Al-Jaber has repeatedly stressed that 1.5ºC is a key goal for COP28, the UN climate summit kicking off in Dubai in November.
ADNOC recently brought forward a planned vast increase in fossil fuel production capacity, aiming to be able to produce 5 million barrels of oil equivalent a day by 2027.
‘After the Global Stocktake the consensus is clearer than ever: emissions must fall 43% by 2030. Sultan al-Jaber, while apparently sharing this consensus, is CEO of an oil company that is on course to increase its emissions by virtually the same amount.
‘At a time when we need a rapid, equitable and widespread reduction in the pollution we produce, Al-Jaber presides over a firm that is planning an oil and gas production bonanza. This Jekyll and Hyde presidency of crucial climate negotiations is now a critical concern.
‘The need for everyone to pull in the same direction in order slash emissions and safeguard a liveable future for all of us has never been clearer. Keeping the boss of a fossil fuel company heading in the exact opposite direction as president of COP28 looks more baffling by the day.’
Senior fossil fuels investigator at Global Witness
A spokesperson from ADNOC claimed that the analysis is ‘misleading’ and warned against ‘inaccurate speculation’.
‘We recognise the climate imperative and welcome constructive dialogue in support of practical solutions.
‘However, the analysis by Global Witness is misleading as it makes no distinction between production capacity and actual production. Inaccurate speculation is divisive and unhelpful, and our collective focus should be on working collaboratively to accelerate the transition to net zero.’
Global Witness disputes ADNOC’s claim that this analysis is inaccurate.
The analysis focuses specifically on projected production – that is, the expected, annualised rate of hydrocarbon extraction from oil and gas assets operated by ADNOC – and not capacity.
Unlike its projected extraction of oil and gas, which this analysis focuses on, ADNOC’s planned production capacity is in the public domain.