As the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is set to commence this Thursday, the frequent negative news surrounding major fossil fuel countries casts a shadow over the potential breakthrough achievements of the meeting.

The United States has continued to greenlight new fossil fuel projects at a sensitive time. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management held an auction for new oil and gas parcels. The bureau auctioned 37 parcels of land in Wyoming, covering 14,164 hectares, of which 18 were successfully bid on, bringing in $3.405 million for the U.S. government. This land auction represents the first step in developing oil and gas resources.

Furthermore, the bureau plans to auction parcels in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nevada, North Dakota, and Utah on November 30, December 5, and December 12.

Environmental organizations have criticized the U.S. for these new auctions. Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager at Friends of the Earth, stated that President Biden is not doing the necessary work to address climate change but is instead continuing to support the expansion of fossil fuels in the U.S.

At this critical moment, media articles have reminded the public not to overlook the current fossil fuel frenzy in the U.S. The Guardian, citing earlier data from the U.S. Energy Department, reported that oil and natural gas extraction in the U.S. may reach new highs this year. Environmentalists find it particularly unacceptable that U.S. government projections show this frenzy could continue until 2050.

Michael Lazarus, a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, expressed shock at seeing U.S. oil and natural gas production setting records year after year, even projected to continue until 2050.

Although the Biden administration has passed the first significant climate legislation in the U.S. and established new pollution rules, with energy emissions slightly decreasing, it continues to greenlight new contracts for oil and gas drilling, causing concern even among some of Biden's allies.

Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, stated that at this meeting, the U.S. lacks any moral authority to lead the agenda on phasing out fossil fuels. "We produce more oil and natural gas than any other country, and the Biden team is still greenlighting one fossil fuel project after another," he said.

Another revelation about this year's host country has drawn attention online. On Monday, the BBC, in collaboration with the non-profit investigative journalism organization Climate Reporting Centre (CCR), disclosed documents suggesting that the UAE's COP28 team prepared documents for chairman Jabir, indicating the host country's plan to use bilateral talks during the meeting to advance oil and gas cooperation with multiple countries.

In response to this revelation, a spokesperson for Jabir said the documents in the report were "inaccurate," and the BBC's use of unverified documents was "disappointing."

Following this revelation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed disbelief at a press conference. Regarding the goals of the summit, Guterres said COP28 must send a clear signal: the era of fossil fuels is over, and its end is inevitable.

The hosting of this climate summit by oil-producing countries and the appointment of "energy tycoon" Jabir as the conference chairman have been criticized by Western politicians. Jabir, head of the UAE's national oil company and also running a state-owned renewable energy company, is seen by critics as having a potential conflict of interest.

Environmental organizations have criticized the decision to let the UAE host the meeting, likening it to holding a meeting in a refinery. In response to the latest revelation, Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat and "architect" of the Paris Agreement, posted on social media that the UAE was "caught red-handed."

Christina Voigt, a law professor at the University of Oslo and former Norwegian climate change negotiation representative, pointed out that there are no fixed procedural rules for the chair of the Conference of the Parties in terms of event arrangements. Additionally, many countries have already reached related energy project agreements. However, the information mentioned in the revelation does not help support the goals of the Paris Agreement and could undermine trust in negotiations.

Regardless of the truth, the annual United Nations climate summit is a fierce negotiation and strategic event for governments worldwide. Observers note that as the climate crisis becomes more urgent and negative factors such as the energy crisis weigh on economies, interactions between countries, especially major powers with different energy transition processes, are becoming increasingly complex.

Although the UAE has introduced a series of emission reduction measures at the national level, such as being the first in the Middle East to set emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050, its stance on fossil fuels is similar to that of other major oil and natural gas producing countries like the U.S. While the UAE has responded to global calls for the gradual phase-out of fossil fuels, it also states that it is not yet ready, and renewable energy cannot fully replace fossil fuels.

The elimination of fossil fuels is a basic consensus internationally, but there is no agreement on the speed, manner, or standards of elimination. The United Nations and environmental organizations advocate for increased emission reduction efforts and an end to fossil fuel pollution, but different countries have varying interpretations of this. Developing countries emphasize the right to equitable development and compensation from historically high-emitting countries, while developed countries with more historical responsibility respond to UN calls by advocating for a gradual phase-out and hoping to use new technological means to offset emissions.

Although the scientific community has long agreed that burning fossil fuels is a major driver of the climate crisis, it was only recently that a political consensus was reached in UN climate decisions. At COP26 in 2021, countries reached a breakthrough agreement to gradually reduce coal power. At last year's COP27, about 80 countries wanted to extend this policy to the oil and natural gas sectors, but the effort was blocked and failed.