Sultan Al Jaber, speaking at a COP28 climate summit presentation in Dubai on December 2, 2023, recently stated that there is no scientific evidence supporting the need to phase out fossil fuels in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This controversial claim has caused concern among climate scientists and advocates.
The future role of fossil fuels is a divisive issue at the COP28 summit, with debates over whether to “phase-out” or “phase-down” their use. Despite scientific evidence indicating the need for a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use to meet the 1.5-degree goal set by the Paris climate agreement, Al Jaber’s remarks seemed to downplay the urgency of this action.
The president’s controversial stance has sparked criticism from various climate experts and activists. He was questioned at a panel event by Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, about the potential to lead on phasing out fossil fuels, to which Al Jaber responded by expressing skepticism about the need for a phase-out and emphasized the importance of being “real, serious and pragmatic” in addressing the issue.
This statement is particularly contentious as Al Jaber holds multiple positions, being an oil company executive and a climate envoy. His comments have been widely criticized by the scientific and environmental communities, with many experts insisting that phasing out fossil fuels is crucial in addressing the climate crisis.
Despite efforts to undermine Al Jaber’s presidency and comments, the COP28 team remains firm in their commitment to achieving climate goals. However, the debate around fossil fuel use continues, with environmental experts warning of the catastrophic consequences if action is not taken urgently to limit global warming.