Al Jaber, who also serves as the CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, contradicted the position of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who emphasized the imperative of phasing out fossil fuels to achieve the 1.5°C limit. The clash of opinions has intensified as more than 100 countries rally behind the call for an agreement to phase out fossil fuels, a key battleground issue at the COP28 summit.
The president of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, has ignited a fierce debate by asserting that no scientific evidence supports the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels to limit global heating to 1.5°C. In an online event with Mary Robinson, chair of the Elders group and former UN special envoy for climate change, Al Jaber’s comments sparked concern and were criticized as bordering on climate denial.
Robinson challenged Al Jaber on his company’s reported investments in future fossil fuel projects, leading to a tense exchange. Al Jaber dismissed media reports as biased and asserted his authority as the head of Adnoc. He urged for a roadmap for a phased-out fossil fuel approach that aligns with sustainable socioeconomic development, emphasizing the need for an agreement to phase out fossil fuels.
As COP28 progresses, the divergence of opinions between UN Secretary-General António Guterres and COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber on the phasing out fossil fuels underscores a critical debate. Guterres, advocating for a definitive timeframe for the transition away from fossil fuels, stresses the urgency of such measures in addressing climate change. However, Al Jaber’s resistance to this approach raises significant concerns, particularly given his dual role as COP28 President and CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc.
The apparent conflict of interest between Al Jaber’s leadership in COP28 and his affiliation with the fossil fuel industry prompts questions about the summit’s commitment to unbiased and effective climate action. As the global community looks to COP28 for pivotal decisions, the trajectory of these deliberations on fossil fuels holds immense significance for the future of climate initiatives.
The outcome of this debate not only influences the effectiveness of COP28 but also shapes the broader narrative of global climate action. Balancing the interests of sustainable development against potential conflicts of interest remains a challenging task for the summit, underscoring the complexities inherent in pursuing a greener and more sustainable future.