(Photo: Sultan Al Jaber, current President of the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 and head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company speaking at the Energy Session on December 2nd at the Al Waha Theater, Expo City Dubai. Photo by COP28 / Stuart Wilson, Creative Commons License on Flickr)
There are sayings that are just so amusing and wonderfully descriptive that you inevitably wonder how anyone could come up with the unintelligent idea of making a cat the guard of the cream. In other languages, the goat is used as the gardener. As of this month, the world has yet another image: when the oil sheikh is made president of the climate conference.
HAHAA!! This expression could have been a really funny gag if it had been a joke and remained a proverb. But then you frown and think: “Wait a minute, someone is really turning the wolf into a shepherd…!” You pause, rub your eyes, look again, shake yourself, look a third time and, despite your jaw hanging, you can’t make a sound. You just think: That sheikh over there… he’s just babbling about what everyone there wants to hear! Who the heck would turn parrots into interpreters?! What kind of idiots were at work here?
Everyone now knows that we are on the way to 3-4°C global warming (imagine a fever of at least 41° and how good that feels). Sea levels will rise to such an extent that entire states and huge coastal areas will drown. Other areas will become so hot that no one can live there, let alone farm. Severe weather such as catastrophic storms or floods, droughts and crop failures will plague us. The limited living space must be shared with animals, which will promote new diseases and pandemics. The lives and health of hundreds of millions of people are at stake.
Everyone now knows that the burning of fossil fuels is the number one reason for this misery. Everyone knows that we need a foxit, the fossil exit, and we need it very quickly. On the way there, the burning of fossil raw materials must be massively reduced. Yes, this will be an enormous effort – which all oil companies have been fighting against and fending for decades, without exception, using every means at their disposal. Because their god is greed. They succeed: CO2 emissions continue to rise, year after year. The regular COP-UN climate conferences were an attempt to change course. But now he stands there, Sultan Al Jaber, and sings in his angelic white costume: “Listen to me, believe me, close your eyes, trust in me…!” while everyone knows that he and his Abu Dhabi National Oil Company plan to massively increase oil production in the future (like all the other oil gurus, by the way)! I just think: Is this still a sloth used as a fitness coach or has the thief already become a police officer? In any case, the oil industry has now also managed to hijack the honorable attempt of the COP conferences and take over the helm, where they can now use a lot of nice blah-blah to disguise the fact that they want to set a new oil production record in 2023, and Another one in 2024, another one in 2025. The crocodile was truly made the pool lifeguard. It’s disastrous. An injustice that screams to heaven.
As is often the case, the Old Testament gives me comfort in these situations.
In this case, Isaiah.
Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.
Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands.
Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel — let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.
Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
It’s texts like these that keep me believing in justice. And in a judge that everyone will have to face. That’s why I want to act wisely, intelligently and with foresight as much as possible. Above all, I don’t want to sugarcoat anything.
After all, I don’t want to make the devil my confessor.