UAE using Wikipedia to ‘control narrative’ amid criticism of oil boss leading COP28

However, COP28 President Al Jaber dismissed all such claims.

Abu Dhabi: COP28 president, Sultan Al Jaber has been accused of attempting to “greenwash” his image after it emerged that members of his team had edited Wikipedia pages that highlighted his role as CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), the media reported.

Work by Al Jaber’s team on his and the climate summit’s Wikipedia entries include adding a quote from an editorial that said Al Jaber — the United Arab Emirates (UAE) minister for industry and advanced technology — was “precisely the kind of ally the climate movement needs”, the Guardian reported.

They also suggested that editors remove reference to a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline deal he signed in 2019, the Centre for Climate Reporting and the Guardian can reveal.

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“Oil companies and their CEOs are taking greenwash to a whole new level — seizing control of global climate conferences, then getting their own employees to airbrush out criticism of their blatant hypocrisy on Wikipedia,” said Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP.

The UAE government, which controls about 6 per cent of the world’s oil reserves, has been criticised for appointing a fossil fuel boss as head of COP28, which will be held in Dubai in November, the Guardian reported.

Last week, 130 US and EU lawmakers called on Al Jaber to be removed from his post as the summit’s president.

Meanwhile, Al Jaber has been working with major consultancy firms and PR agencies to promote his work as an advocate for Emirati investment in green energy.

His appointment as COP28 president was welcomed by the likes of John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, and other key figures in international climate diplomacy, the Guardian reported.

Pointing to Al Jaber’s work on climate issues over the past decade, a spokesperson for COP28 said: “We will continue to ensure that all publicly available sources of information about the presidency and its leadership remain factually accurate and up to date.”

Response from COP28

On Tuesday, COP28 CEO Adnan Amin, released a statement on behalf of Al Jaber dismissing that UAE was using Wikipedia to ‘control narratives’.

In a statement COP28 defended the move stating, “Every business and public figure revisits Wikipedia pages and reviews the content to ensure that it is up to date and accurate. That is how this platform is built.”

“Dr Al Jaber’s Wikipedia page represents his over 30-year career. Everything in his Wikipedia page is absolutely accurate,” it adds.

Greenwashing implies that there is a level of deceit – hiding something or distorting facts. “And nothing can be further from the truth.”

The statement from COP28 stressed that the “COP process should not be politicized and turned into an impotent echo chamber that does not address the real needs of people affected by climate change.”

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