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UAE paranoia

UAE paranoia

It might actually be a good thing that climate negotiations were being negotiated in Dubai of all places.

You may have noticed, but there’s something wrong with today’s column. Well, I usually write it for Thursday, not Friday. Climate change is responsible for the overnight shift. Or rather the 28th Climate Conference in Dubai, which was called for this reason, and on which I was able to report as of Thursday.

Some thoughts on the place: Dubai is ridiculous. In light of the massive skyscrapers, the consumer frenzy in countless shopping malls, and the excessive fashion at Christmas, against which the heart tree in Vienna looks like the elegance symbol par excellence, one cannot help but notice: the Emiratis are a bit paranoid. They also like to organize things. For example, the conference grounds were filled with the sound of birdsong (with no bird ever seen flying), and there was a spectacular light show every evening at sunset.

But the crowning glory was the spectacle I witnessed one evening in downtown Dubai: a fleet of glowing drones soaring through the air and then — accompanied by John Williams-style music — transforming into a variety of images in a morphing dance number: from ships to skyscrapers. To the astronauts. Final image: QR code leading to the home page of the National Oil Company.

Back to the climate: Although it seems ridiculous, it might have been good for the negotiations to be held in Dubai this time, if you look at the acceptable outcome. Because even Congress President Sultan Al Jaber cannot deny his arrogance, which shows a certain degree of megalomania. According to reports after the negotiations, this may have contributed significantly to appeasing even the petro-states, which had initially strongly objected.

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In this regard, it was not entirely implausible to me that Al Jaber would celebrate his victory not only with an Oscar acceptance speech, but also with his photo in the drone skies. This did not happen. Was that humbling? This may actually be the only thing Dubai doesn’t have.