A state-owned renewables company based in the United Arab Emirates has hired a U.S. firm to counter opponents to ‘climate change’ in advance of the United Nations' COP28 climate summit this December.
Masdar filed a $100,000 contract with First International Resources for six months, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The stipend also includes additional undisclosed fees.
Its mandate is “to strengthen the overall reputation and standing of the U.A.E., His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and COP28 among Western audiences.”
Jaber serves as the country’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and is also a chairman of Masdar.
According to the contract, the public relations firm must “effectively inoculate” Jaber and COP28 from “potential criticism” while promoting the U.A.E. as a leader in the ‘green economy’ of tomorrow.
They will act as a “personal sounding board” to the minister and Masdar chairman to counter negative press coverage around the event.
First International Resources hopes to penetrate the echo-chambers of “opinion elites” with “high social engagement” and convince the general public to support the push for ‘net-zero.’
The firm will especially target the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Hungary, Spain and the U.K. to quell “predictable pushback from Greens in the West.”
“Greens have an influence on the national conversation,” they said, referring to political groups that campaign on social justice and environmentalism.
“[The] loudest voices are not the most representative,” claimed First International Resources.
However, the public relations firm failed to mention that the criticism against the host nation also comes from leading human rights organizations.
A recent Amnesty International report warned that COP28 participants must pressure them to release “unjustly imprisoned” activists to ensure the annual UN climate conference is “not tarnished by repression.”
Last month, environment ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and elsewhere endorsed a “rapid decline of fossil fuel production and use within this decade.”
Several countries also supported a climate diplomacy bloc, the High Ambition Coalition, calling for “an urgent phase out from fossil fuels.”
However, the head of the Ambition Coalition said targeting “unabated fossil fuels” takes away from reducing carbon emissions.
“The word unabated is still a weasel word, but we are progressing in a good direction at the very least,” said Caroline Brouillette, the executive director of Climate Action Network Canada.
However, she admitted the language is more 'ambitious' than previous commitments at UN climate summits, working towards implementing the Paris Climate Accords.