A climate summit leader has said there is “no science” behind the need to phase out fossil fuels, worrying scientists

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Sultan Al Jaber, chair of the COP28 climate summit, speaks at a presentation in Dubai on December 2, 2023.


Head of the COP28 climate summitSultan Al Jaber recently He claimed there was “no science” to say that phasing out fossil fuels is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in comments that have alarmed climate scientists and climate advocates.

The future role of fossil fuels is one of the most controversial issues countries are grappling with at the COP28 climate summit. While some are pressing forget rid ofOthers call for weaker language of “tapering down.” Scientific reports have shown that fossil fuels must be cut quickly to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees — the goal of the Paris climate agreement, a limit beyond which scientists warn it will be difficult for humans and ecosystems to adapt.

Al Jaber made these statements during It’s a changing climate panel event On November 21, which came to light on Sunday in Story published by The GuardianIn the video reviewed by CNN. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and current chair of the Elders, an independent group of world leaders, asked Al Jaber if he would lead the phase-out of fossil fuels.

In his response, Al Jaber told Robinson: “There is no science or scenario that says phasing out fossil fuels is what will achieve 1.5.” He said he had expected to attend the She Changes Climate meeting to have a “sober and mature conversation” and was not “engaging in any troubling discussion”.

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He continued that the 1.5 degree target was his “north star”, and that the gradual reduction and phase-out of fossil fuels was “inevitable” but “we need to be real, serious and practical about this”.

In a series of increasingly tense responses to Robinson that brought him to this point, Al Jaber asked her, “Please, help me, show me a road map for phasing out fossil fuels that will allow for sustainable social and economic development, unless you want it.” To bring the world back to the caves.”

Al-Jaber’s presidency of the COP28 summit It was controversial. The Emirati businessman is the UAE’s climate envoy and chairs the board of its renewable energy company, but he also chairs… State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

“This story is just another attempt to undermine the presidency’s agenda, which has been clear, transparent and backed by tangible achievements by the COP president and his team,” a COP28 team spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

“The COP President is clear that the phase-down and phase-out of fossil fuels is inevitable and that we must keep 1.5°C within reach,” adding, “We are excited about the progress we have made so far and to deliver an ambitious (global) plan.” inventory) decision. “Attempts to undermine this matter will not weaken our resolve.”

Fossil fuels are the main driver of the climate crisis, and as the world continues to burn oil, coal and gas, global temperatures are rising to unprecedented levels. This year has witnessed Global temperature recordwho drove Deadly extreme weather events.

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Fossil fuel production in 2030 It is expected to more than double A recent report from several scientific institutions, including the United Nations Environment Programme, found what would be necessary to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. This report used scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) to reach its conclusion.

“If the IPCC and IEA are not considered science, then I don’t know what is,” said Ploy Achakolisut, a climate researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute and one of the report’s authors. She told CNN she concluded that “all fossil fuels must be phased out, especially if large-scale CO2 removal and CCS fail.”

Carbon capture refers to… A set of technologies It aims to remove carbon pollution from the air and capture what is produced by power plants and other polluting facilities. While some argue that carbon capture will be an important tool to reduce pollution caused by heating the planet, others argue that these technologies are expensive, widely unproven, and distract from policies to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Scientists and climate groups strongly criticized Al Jaber’s comments.

Roman Ewalalen, global policy officer at the non-profit Oil Change International, said in a statement that Al Jaber’s comments during the panel discussion were “alarming,” “denying science,” and “raise deep concerns about the presidency’s ability to lead UN climate talks.” “. “.

Guiri Rogelj, professor of climate at Imperial College London, said he highly recommended Aljaber Review the latest report From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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“This report, which was unanimously approved by 195 countries including the UAE, shows a variety of ways to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C – all of which point to an effective phase-out of fossil fuels in the first half of the century.” “Will this return the world to caves? Absolutely not,” he said in a statement.

Mohammed Addo, director of climate think tank Power Shift Africa, said Al Jaber’s comments were a “wake-up call” to the world and COP28 negotiators. “They will not get any assistance from the COP presidency in achieving a strong outcome on the phase-out of fossil fuels,” he said in a statement.

This COP summit will conclude the first global stocktake, where countries will take stock of the progress they have made on climate action and work out how to do so. Put the world on the right track To reduce catastrophic global warming.

CNN’s Angela Dewan and Rachel Ramirez contributed reporting

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