Newsbreak: Azerbaijan appoints state oil company veteran to preside over COP29

By Samuel Ogunsona

The Minister of Ecology and Natural Resource for
Azerbaijan, Mukhtar Babayev, has been appointed to lead the next climate change conference in November, 2024.

The 2024 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 29) will convene in Azerbaijan, the former Soviet Union country with her capital in Baku. Azerbaijan has a population of 10.14million people and has been described as one of the most beautiful countries.

Azerbaijan is divided partially between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

The 2024 conference will include the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 29), the 19th meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 19), and the sixth meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 6) that will convene to complete the first enhanced transparency framework and the new collective quantified goal on finance, among other matters.

Irohinoodua was informed that Babayev has spent 26 years working for the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) before assuming his office as a minister in October, 2018.

At the just concluded COP28 climate talk in Dubai, over 100 countries pushed for a fossil fuel phase-out to drive the deep CO2 emissions reductions scientists say are needed this decade.

Some environmental experts and activists are confused that Babayev do not have the full authority to push for the phase out of fossil fuel globally as he is not an independent man and also lacks the experience in climate negotiation.

“Rafiyev is a newcomer to climate diplomacy. He did not attend the Cop26 or Cop27 climate talks and his active X (formerly known as Twitter) account has only mentioned climate change once in over six years” Climate home news reported

Mukhtar Babayev Biography

Muxtar Bahadur oğlu Babayev, 16 October 1967) is an Azerbaijani politician, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Republic.

He grew up in Baku, went to university in Moscow and served in the Soviet military in the late 1980s.

After Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union, he joined the newly-named State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) in 1992, where he stayed for 26 years.

After a stint in marketing, he was appointed the company’s vice-president of ecological affairs, which involved trying to reverse the environmental damage caused by the company.

In this position, he hosted an international conference on rehabilitating contaminated soils in 2008, where he warned that a drop in the oil price could have a negative impact on the company’s efforts to clean Azerbaijan’s soil.

However, his appointment has gained so much attention and criticism from many environmental activists and COP experts siting that he seems to be a rather unknown quantity

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