Cop28 president forced into defence of fossil fuel phase-out claims
(The Guardian, 4 Dec 2023) Sultan Al Jaber, who is state oil CEO, had said phase-out of fossil fuels would take world ‘back into caves’.
The president of Cop28 has been forced into a fierce defence of his views on climate science, after the Guardian revealed his comment that there was “no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C”.
Sultan Al Jaber, who is also the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, said at a hastily arranged press conference at the summit in Dubai: “I respect the science in everything I do. I have repeatedly said that it is the science that has guided the principles or strategy as Cop28 president. We have always built everything, every step of the way, on the science, on the facts.”
Al Jaber made the controversial comments in ill-tempered responses to the former UN climate envoy Mary Robinson during an online event on 21 November. During the exchange, he also said: “Show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.”
At the press conference, Al Jaber said: “I have incredible respect for Mary Robinson.” He added: “I have said over and over the phase-down and the phase-out of fossil fuel is inevitable. In fact, it is essential.”