The president of COP28, the Emirati Sultan Al Jaber, assured this Monday that respects scientific recommendations on climate change, after a leak of a video in which he questioned whether the world should abandon fossil fuels.
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President of the Emirati hydrocarbon company, Jaber called a press conference on the fifth day of the UN climate conference together with the main UN climatologist, to clarify his views.
“We believe and respect science,” Jaber said. “Everything this presidency has been working on and continues to work on is focused and centered on science,” Jaber insisted.
The president of COP28 recognized that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 43% by 2030, as part of efforts to achieve the goal of achieving zero neutrality and limiting warming to 1.5º C with respect to preindustrial levels.
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The British newspaper Guardian posted a video on Sunday showing Jaber having a lively exchange with former Irish Prime Minister Mary Robinson during an online forum.
“In no way do I join an alarmist discussion”Jaber said at the She Changes Climate online conference on November 21.
Everything this presidency has been working on and continues to work on is focused and centered on science.
“I am objective and respect science, and there is no science, nor any scenario, that says that the gradual elimination of fossil fuels is what will achieve 1.5º C,” the COP28 president reportedly said.
One of the most contentious points of COP28 is how to mention fossil fuels in the final declaration.
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For years there has been a bitter fight between the countries that consider that this source of energy, which represents more than three quarters of world energy consumption, must be gradually eliminated (“phase out”), and those that insist that it should only be mentioned its reduction (“phase down”).
Until now, The official position of the COP28 presidency is that fossil fuels “must be mentioned” in the final declaration.
Jaber defended himself by attacking: the current controversies are part of a “campaign to undermine the presidency,” he emphasized.
The controversy surrounding fossil fuels is vital not only for large players such as the United Arab Emirates (seventh largest producer in the world) but also for many developing countries, such as India, resolutely opposed to a mention of “elimination”.
Others, such as the island states in the Pacific or the Caribbean, fight for the world accepts that oil, gas and coal must stay underground permanently.
“I am going to remain totally focused” on the negotiations, which must be closed on December 12, insisted the Emirati official, who highlighted his status as an engineer.
“The only thing I can say is that Dr. Sultan has paid attention to the science in the terms in which we have spoken, and that he has completely understood it,” added the president of the group of UN climatologists, Jim Skea, who cited the main report on the matter.
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“By looking at scenarios in which global warming is limited to 1.5º C, with no excess or very little excess in 2050the use of fossil fuels is reduced considerably, without reduction measures,” he indicated.
Jaber gave an interview to the newspaper Guardian on July 13 in which it clearly indicated that “the phase down of fossil fuels is inevitable and essential.”
Negotiations within COP28 have entered the phase of intense consultations, for a first general draft of the final declaration that should be ready by mid-week.
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