Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, the COP28 President from the United Arab Emirates, has said that there is “no science” supporting the call to phase out fossil fuels. The Telegraph has more.
Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, who also heads the state oil company Adnoc, said the phase-out of fossil fuels was not necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to 1.5°C during a meeting in the run-up to the summit.
“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5°C,” he said in response to a question from Mary Robinson, the former Irish President.
Dr. Al-Jaber, who is also head of the renewable energy company Masdar, suggested that a phase-out of fossil fuels would mean countries missing out on “sustainable socioeconomic development” and could not be achieved “unless you want to take the world back into caves”.
He added that a “phase-down and a phase-out of fossil fuels is inevitable, it is essential, but we need to be real, serious and pragmatic about it”.
His comments are at odds with messaging from the UN, which convenes the COP28 summit.
On Friday, Antonio Guterres, the UN chief, called for a total oil and gas phase-out. “Not reduce. Not abate. Phase out – with a clear timeframe aligned with 1.5 degrees,” he said.
The comments from Dr. Al-Jaber were seized upon by climate activists, who pointed to several reports that find phasing out fossil fuels is necessary to stick to the Paris Agreement goals, including a new report released on Sunday.