COP28 President, is currently head of the country's state oil company Adnoc
By Esme Stallard
Climate and Science Reporter, BBC News
It comes after more than 130 lawmakers from the US and EU wrote to the UN calling for his removal.
The UN has long been criticised for the involvement of the fossil fuel industry in the COP climate summits.
On Thursday, Minister for Net Zero Graham Stuart said Jaber was "an outstanding individual".
Every year the host country for the global climate summit, known as COP, nominates a president. As well as organising the event they provide political leadership, heading up critical negotiations on climate action in the run up to, and during, the conference.
This year the hosts, the UAE, nominated Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, the head of the state oil company, as president of the summit, which starts in Dubai in November.
Campaigners have been growing increasingly vocal against this decision, and this week 133 lawmakers from the EU and US joined the call for his removal.
In a joint letter addressed to the United Nations, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden, the lawmakers expressed their "profound concern" that the fossil fuel industry was allowed to exert influence on the talks.
But Mr Stuart, during a news conference on Thursday, defended the decision of the UAE.
Speaking at an environmental technology conference, he said: "I think he is an outstanding individual and we look forward to working with the UAE to ensure COP28 is a success and gets more countries committing to the necessary emissions reductions."
Mr Stuart also defended Jaber's track record at ADNOC, the UAE state oil company, saying that he was cleaning up their operations and reducing emissions.
Any emissions from the production of oil are dwarfed by the emissions produced when it is used. But the emissions from using oil products like petrol are the responsibility of the country where they are used
The UAE is one of the 10 largest oil producers in the world. Their state oil company pumped 2.7 million barrels of oil per day in 2021, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
The company aims to expand to nearly double output to five million barrels per day by 2027 - a target date brought forward from 2030 two months ago by Jaber.
Zeina Khalil Hajj, head of global campaigning for 350.org, one of the groups calling for his removal, said: "It is the equivalent of appointing the CEO of a cigarette company to oversee a conference on cancer cures."
In ten days countries will come together for the Bonn climate conference - the halfway point to COP28 which is used to reflect on progress in reaching climate targets. There are suggestions that these talks will be used to reflect on the involvement of polluting industries, like oil companies, in the talks.
Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
Chief Scientist, Blue Regeneration SL
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Technical Advisor, Blue Guardians Programme, SIDS DOCK
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Geotherapy: Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration
No one can change the past, everybody can change the future
It’s much later than we think, especially if we don’t think
Those with their heads in the sand will see the light when global warming and sea level rise wash the beach away
Geotherapy: Regenerating ecosystem services to reverse climate change
The critical question arising from appointing a poacher to be gamekeeper is whether he will use his intimate knowledge of poaching to end the practice, or go native and look after his poacher associates' interests.
Arguably no one knows more about how to stop poaching than a top
poacher. We could all be astonished by his adoption of our
cause. On the other hand ....
We'll all be watching this space!
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