COP28 President’s Controversial Stance on Fossil Fuel Phase-Out and Climate Science

During COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, the summit’s president, sparked controversy by claiming there is no scientific basis for rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, despite widespread scientific consensus on their impact on global heating. His statement drew significant backlash from scientists and climate advocates. Al Jaber, who also leads the UAE’s main oil company, advocates for a gradual reduction in fossil fuel emissions and the implementation of carbon capture technologies, rather than an outright phase-out.

by Ahmed Khalifa

At the COP28 climate summit, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the president of the conference and CEO of a major oil company, made a contentious assertion that there’s “no science” supporting the rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, a statement that has incited outrage among scientists and climate advocates globally​​​​. This claim directly contradicts the prevailing scientific view that reducing fossil fuel use is essential to limit global heating to 1.5C, a key goal in combating climate change.

Al Jaber’s position is particularly significant given his dual role as both the leader of COP28 and the head of the UAE’s main oil company, ADNOC. His stance has raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest and the impact this might have on the summit’s outcomes​​. Despite the uproar, Al Jaber has expressed support for reducing fossil fuel usage, albeit not a full phase-out. Instead, he emphasizes the importance of a well-managed energy transition, focusing on reducing emissions from oil and gas while scaling up zero-carbon alternatives. He advocates for the continued use of fossil fuels alongside the development of carbon capture technologies to mitigate the environmental impact​​​​.

This approach has sparked a debate on the feasibility and effectiveness of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies as a means to continue fossil fuel use while attempting to limit emissions. Critics argue that this method may delay essential shifts towards renewable energy sources and undermine the urgent action needed to address the climate crisis. The controversy at COP28 highlights the complex interplay between environmental policy, scientific evidence, and the economic interests of fossil fuel-dependent nations and industries.

(Associated Medias | FAD) – All rights reserved.