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COP28: UN talks chief rejects climate denial accusations

  • COP28 aims 1.5°C limit
  • Al-Jaber denies climate science denial
  • Fossil fuel reduction commitment

Sultan al-Jaber, the president of the ongoing United Nations climate negotiations, has refuted claims that he denies a fundamental aspect of climate science.

His earlier assertion that “no science” supported the necessity of discontinuing fossil fuels to restrict temperature increase to 1.5°C has been confirmed.

“We hold science in the highest regard and have faith in it,” he stated Monday.

The objective of the COP28 summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is to advance efforts to combat climate change.

Challenging the Consensus

In 2015, at the United Nations climate negotiations, every nation reached a consensus to reduce the emission of warming gases to limit the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

However, Mr Jaber appeared to refute this claim during an online event on November 21 with Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former United Nations special envoy for climate change.

He stated that neither science nor a scenario predicts the elimination of fossil fuels as the means to achieve 1.5°C.

Clarification and Reiteration

Mr Jaber stated on Monday, the fifth day of the United Nations negotiations, “Allow me to clarify my position on the science.”

“In all honesty, I believe that there is some confusion and misrepresentation in the world. The persistent and recurring efforts to undermine the efforts of the COP28 presidency have me quite surprised,” he stated.

He appeared perturbed on occasion. He added, “Science has been essential to my professional development, and I do, in fact, hold it in the highest regard in all that I do.”

Mr. Jaber, aged 50, has economics and engineering training.

Fossil Fuel Elimination and Global Consensus

“The phase-down and eventual elimination of fossil fuels is an inevitability,” he further stated in one of his most persistent declarations concerning the future of oil, coal, and gas.

On Monday, he delivered a speech while seated adjacent to Professor Jim Skea, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Dr. Sultan has demonstrated a commitment to scientific inquiry,” Prof. Skea remarked.

He clarified that he advocated for the worldwide scientific consensus, which governments have endorsed.

Further, he stated that he wished to reiterate the IPCC’s stance on fossil fuels.

“I shall express myself with extreme precision. Considering scenarios in which global warming is restricted to 1.5 degrees with little or no overshoot, the use of fossil fuels is drastically reduced by 2050, and unabated coal use is eliminated entirely,” he explained.

To achieve this objective, he stated that petrol consumption had to decrease by 45% and oil usage by 60% by 2050.

The inquiry regarding the manner and timing of reductions in oil, coal, and gas consumption prevails over the UN negotiations.

Nations with economies primarily dependent on fossil fuels hesitate to reach a consensus on a total cessation of oil, coal, and gas consumption.

Conversely, some proponents argue that substantial fossil fuel consumption can continue despite the development of costly carbon dioxide capture technologies.

However, nations most affected by climate change demand significantly more robust pledges to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

The United Arab Emirates’ COP28 presidency has been criticised because the nation ranks among the top ten global oil and gas producers. Furthermore, the enormous Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) is led by Mr. Jaber.

Monday morning, Marshall Islands climate envoy Tina Stege delivered remarks on behalf of nations susceptible to climate change.

“According to the president, 1.5°C serves as his North Star.” “Our purpose is to hold him accountable for that,” she declared.

Mr Jaber further alluded to rumours that he had a strained relationship with the November event’s presenter, Ms Robinson.

“I had a conversation with someone I have a great deal of respect for,” he commented.

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