Berliner Tageblatt - At COP28, Al Gore takes aim at host UAE's emissions

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At COP28, Al Gore takes aim at host UAE's emissions
At COP28, Al Gore takes aim at host UAE's emissions / Photo: © AFP

At COP28, Al Gore takes aim at host UAE's emissions

Armed with satellite images of pipelines, former US vice president and climate champion Al Gore singled out the emissions of the United Arab Emirates at the COP28 talks in the oil-rich monarchy on Sunday.

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Gore and Climate TRACE, an independent emissions tracker, had a message in Dubai to countries and industries around the world: no one can hide their emissions anymore.

Using a network of 300 satellites and artificial intelligence, Climate TRACE can now monitor emissions from more than 352 million sites from 10 industries.

Its data showed the UAE's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 7.5 percent in 2022 from the previous year, compared to a 1.5 percent increase for the entire world.

"In large regions of the world, it's very uncommon to have any self-reporting" of emissions, Gore said.

Speaking in the main plenary room of the COP28 site, Gore pointed to huge monitors showing satellite images of the major emitting sites in the UAE.

Another map showed leaks from pipelines.

"The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company still claims to have no emissions from methane or anything else from the transport of oil and gas," Gore said.

"Well, actually, they do. We can see them from space," he said.

The oil company, known as ADNOC, is headed by Sultan Al Jaber, whose appointment as president of COP28 infuriated climate campaigners.

ADNOC declined to comment when contacted by AFP about Gore's comments.

Gore praised a pledge by 50 oil and gas companies, including ADNOC, to reach "near zero" methane emissions.

"This was a wonderful pledge," Gore said. "But we're going to be measuring whether they comply with this or not."

"We have seen pledges in the past and we have seen misbehaviour by oil and gas companies in the past," he added.

The Climate TRACE data release Sunday showed that global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 8.6 percent between 2015, the year the landmark Paris climate agreement was sealed, and 2022.

Just five countries -- China, the United States, India, Indonesia and Russia -- accounted for 75 percent of those emissions.

And China alone was responsible for nearly half of the global increase.

Gore -- who shared the 2007 Nobel peace prize with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- warned that for COP28 to be considered a "historic" success, countries had to commit to phasing out fossil fuels.

Tough negotiations on the issue have started at the conference which is due to end on December 12.

"Phase out fossil fuels," Gore thundered, drawing applause from the audience. "That is the solution to the climate crisis."