The 28th edition of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP) closes on 14 December, so there is still time for final assessments. But, in the meantime, one political fact stands out. On the one hand, Dubai is rehabilitating fossil fuels: the Emirate, which is organising the event, has taken advantage of it to put the relevance of hydrocarbons back at the centre of energy policies, in contrast to the announced objectives of the event. On the other hand, the fashion system remains on the sidelines of major conversations about sustainable industry reform. And, much worse, it essentially finds its representation in Stella McCartney’s ideological platform alone.
Dubai rehabilitates fossil fuels
It remains to be seen what compromise will emerge from this UN climate conference on fossil fuels. What is certain is that the Emirate has taken advantage of the stage to protect its own interests. From the rear, as the Kick Big Polluters Out association reports, because in the COP 28 parterre there are 2,456 fossil fuel lobbyists, a number that has “quadrupled since last year” as well as being “record-breaking”. But also quite explicitly. Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of the event’s organising delegation and an Emirati politician, called the proposal to eliminate fossil fuels “a return to cave times”.
Reducing or eliminating reliance on fossil fuels would be a goal of the event: “But no science”, Sultan Al Jaber objected, “proves that moving away from fossil fuels is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”. To reiterate the point, in the days of COP 28 we learn that the state oil company Adnoc, whose head is Al Jaber himself, plans to drill up to 42% more by 2030, according to statistical projections.
And for fashion, who’s in? Stella McCartney
As Kerry Senior, director of Leather UK, points out from his LinkedIn account, at COP the fashion system is underrepresented. In the place where global strategies for human activities are decided, the very industry often accused of being among the most polluting has very little space. ICT tries to make its voice heard by presenting updated editions of the Leather Manifesto.
But who is there to talk about fashion sustainability for the second year running? Stella McCartney, champion of an idea of sustainability that is hers alone, and is only useful for her brand. Even in Dubai, the ultra-veg entrepreneur set up her “sustainable market” (pictured), from where she took the opportunity to launch the usual bombs against leather and animal materials. The only voice in fashion, in short, is the ideological one of an animal-free breakthrough that finds no support in science for its claim of ecological superiority. It may just be a coincidence, but it happens in an oil-driven COP.