The US's Clean Air Task Force said that Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, could push for the greater use of carbon capture and storage by the oil and gas industry.
Dr Al Jaber, who is managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc, is more likely to influence other oil firms than most other Cop presidents the think tank said on Tuesday.
“Dr Sultan is in a much better position to have the conversations with leaders of national oil companies that are necessary,” said Jonathan Banks, CATF's global director for methane.
“Everybody should be graded on the results, not on what company they come from.”
“We believe that the UAE is the perfect place to hold Cop because how we deal with the fossil fuel transition is of supreme importance to the climate,” said Armond Cohen, the CATF's executive director.
“We could take the view that fossil fuels should be abated overnight. We don't think that's going to happen, which is why the CATF focuses so much on dealing with the emissions from fossil fuels.”
He said that the CATF also does not take the view that the fossil fuel industry is going to be eliminated.
“We need to engage them as partners. The industry has enormous resources – financial and technical. We need to harness that,” he said.
CATF said that the inevitable continued use of fossil fuels meant that it was essential to maximise the deployment of carbon capture and storage or CCS technology.
This aims to store permanently underground carbon that would have otherwise been released by industrial complexes when fossil fuels are burnt.
The roll-out of CCS is divisive however, with some environmental campaigners saying that encouraging its use could deflect from efforts to cut the use of fossil fuels.
Direct air capture, a related technology, is more universally welcomed by environmentalists, as it involves removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere so that it can be stored but is not associated with the burning of fossil fuels.
“We need CCS now because fossil fuel companies or countries want to continue using these fuels, but the carbon pollution from using these fuels is not falling nearly fast enough,” said Benjamin Longstreth, CATF’s global director for carbon capture.
“We need to cut that pollution by all means available. CCS is one of those means. That’s why we need to pursue it quickly.”
He said that CATF was “urging” that there should be a “focus” on the importance of CCS and that there should be a push to increase the roll-out of the technology at Cop28.
CATF said it expected to see progress at Cop28 on the Global Methane Pledge, which was unveiled at Cop26 in Glasgow by the US and the EU. A voluntary pledge, it has a target of reducing methane levels by 30 per cent by 2030.
Methane is much more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, but it remains in the atmosphere for a relatively short period, between seven and 12 years, compared to hundreds of years for carbon dioxide.
Efforts to clamp down on methane emissions are seen as having a significant effect on climate change over a shorter period.
CATF will host its own Zero-Carbon Future pavilion at Cop28 with a variety of events planned on ways to address efforts to achieve net zero.