The president of a pivotal UN climate summit defended on Saturday the large presence of industry representatives at the negotiations, saying private sector engagement was essential to curb global heating.

“Everyone needs to be part of this process and everyone needs to be held responsible and everyone needs to be held accountable,” COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber, of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, told AFP in an interview.“That includes all industries and in particular heavy emitting industries like aviation, transportation, aluminium, cement, steel, as well as the oil and gas industry,” he added.World leaders, country negotiators, activists, lobbyists and figures including Pope Francis will be among the 70,000 attendees expected at COP28 in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, making it the largest United Nations climate change summit ever.More than 1,000 businesses and philanthropic organisation leaders have registered for a two-day forum on December 1-2 on the sidelines of the negotiations between political leaders on preventing the planet’s climate tipping unstoppably out of control.Businesses and industries are to announce a score of commitments at the forum, according to its organiser, Emirati businessman Badr Jafar.National negotiators at COP28 will grapple with a host of flashpoint issues, including the future of fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal — and financial aid from rich polluters for the poorer nations most vulnerable to accelerating climate disruption.But the central focus will be a damning stock-taking of the world’s limited progress towards curbing the pollutant greenhouse gas emissions fuelling the climate crisis.Jaber, CEO of UAE state-owned oil giant ADNOC, has consistently stressed his wish to engage the private sector alongside national governments to finance the transition to clean energy and help vulnerable states adapt to their changing climate. “We also need to encourage private sector funding,” he told AFP. “We need to provide the necessary insurance and the hedging mechanisms to protect the private sector, and… incentivise them to come on board and to help fix the climate finance challenge.”US and European parliamentarians have urged the UN to bring in new rules on companies taking part in COP negotiations.Asked about the demand, Jaber said the challenge was so enormous that both nation states and the private sector needed to be involved.“Everyone must be consulted. Everyone must be given the opportunity to contribute,” he said. “I will hold everyone and every industry responsible and accountable for keeping 1.5 within reach.” “1.5” refers to the target set by the 2015 Paris Agreement of limiting the rise in the Earth’s average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientists have warned that humanity is dangerously close to exceeding that key 1.5C threshold.

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