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Azerbaijan Names Ecology Minister and Ex-Oil Exec as COP29 Chief – Bloomberg

Mukhtar Babayev during the COP28 Climate Summit, in Dubai, on Dec. 9.Photographer: Kamran Jebreili/AP Photo
Mukhtar Babayev during the COP28 Climate Summit, in Dubai, on Dec. 9. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

Nayla Razzouk, Bloomberg News

EnergiesNet.com 01 05 2024

Azerbaijan chose Ecology Minister Mukhtar Babayev, who worked for over two decades at the state oil and and gas company before entering government, to head the next round of global climate talks: COP29 to be held later this year in Baku.

Babayev was appointed COP29 president-designate and Yalchin Rafiyev as lead negotiator for the climate summit, according to the COP28 presidency account on X. Babayev worked at the state energy company Socar from 1994 until 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Although his role as ecology minister makes him a mainstream choice to preside over the talks, his background in oil may reignite the debate over the role of fossil fuel interests in the COP process. 

Azerbaijan, one of the birth places of the oil industry, is the third oil and gas exporter in a row to host the talks after the United Arab Emirates last year and Egypt in 2022. The appointment of Sultan Al Jaber as COP28 president triggered wide criticism because he remained chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. Al Jaber ultimately negotiated the first COP agreement to call for the transition away from all fossil fuels.

COP28 in Dubai involved the oil and gas industry more than any other incarnation of the annual climate talks, including an agreement between more than fifty oil companies to reduce methane emissions from their own operations to near zero by the end of the decade.

bloomberg.com 01 05 2024

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