US climate envoy John Kerry said he has “high expectations” of the UAE to put the energy transition front and centre when it hosts the United Nations Climate Conference, known as Cop 28, later this year.
“The new President of the Cop [Dr Sultan Al Jaber] was very public about it: that this is a time for transition,” Mr Kerry said in an interview with The National.
“UAE understands they are transitioning away from gas and oil into a new energy future.”
The UAE's leadership in the energy transition — including being the first in the region to develop nuclear power and to set a net-zero target — means it is well placed to lead climate talks, the former secretary of state said.
“They’re determined to be leaders in that effort,” he said.
“And I have high expectations that they're really going to put this issue on the table, as people prepare for [Cop 28].”
In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Mr Kerry dismissed criticism of a chief executive of a major oil and gas company leading such an event.
“That’s a first blush, very simplistic way to look at this,” he said.
“The fact is that Dr Sultan Al Jaber is committed, and has been very public about the commitment of UAE to transition to the new energy economy.
“And by the way, this is not doing the world a favour.
“This is something that is in the interests of the UAE, because the world is changing. The fact is that there are very significant impacts already from the climate crisis.
“And the only way, the only way we will meet this crisis and protect our citizens and build an economy for the future, is by reducing emissions.”