There are many people in Qatar who would make excellent presidents for this year's UN climate conference, now under way in the Qatari capital of Doha. But the man they chose has been partying with big oil his whole adult life.
Not only was Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah Qatar's oil minister for years, but he also served as president of Opec, the body that represents the interests of oil-producing countries across the globe. In 2007 he was given an award for being the best petroleum executive in the world.
One might think he would have changed his tune after getting selected to chair this year's climate summit – where nothing less than the planet's future is at stake. But just a few days ago, he was caught with top oil executives at an exclusive event in London, explaining how fossil fuels will be around for the next 300 years.
It sounds bad. But there's reason to hope. Over the past 15 years Qatar has given women the right to vote and created a constitution – steps that show it's open to change. Now it's time for this tiny country to show real leadership and make a climate deal possible.
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