Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, president of COP28 (UN conference on Climate Change), said there is no scientific evidence behind the push to phase out fossil fuels. Ahmed al-Jaber also explained that advancing this policy would not allow sustainable development but would take the world back in time.
"Theres is no science or scenario out there that says that phasing out fossil fuels is what is going to limit global warming by 1.5°C, from my point of view it is inevitable, it is essential, but we have to be very serious and pragmatic about it," Al Jaber said during a meeting which was recorded by the Center for Climate Reporting and reviewed - for the first time - by The Guardian.
"Show me a road map"
Al Jaber's comments came during a panel in which Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and current chair of the Elders Group, asked him to lead the push to phase out fuels. Additionally, Robinson accused the sultan that the state oil company he runs, ADNOC, is increasing its use of fossil fuels. In response to the accusation, Al Jaber highlighted that his approach is based on achieving a pragmatic strategy.
"Please help me, show me the roadmap for a phase-out of fossil fuel that will allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves," Ahmed AlJaber maintained during the conversation.
I don’t think [you] will be able to help solve the climate problem by pointing fingers or contributing to the polarisation and the divide that is already happening in the world. Show me the solutions. Stop the pointing of fingers. Stop it.
Al Jaber's statements generated numerous counter reactions because several world leaders are trying to impose the maxim that to stop climate change the elimination of fossil fuels is necessary. In fact, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, maintained that "The science is clear: The 1.5C limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels. Not reduce, not abate. Phase out, with a clear timeframe"
"The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels.
— UN Climate Change (@UNFCCC) December 1, 2023
The United States insists on the elimination of fossil fuels
Despite the warning from the COP28 president himself, Joe Biden's Administration is advancing its policy to eliminate fossil fuels. The United States special envoy for climate, John Kerry, maintained that the Democratic government is committed to promoting the end of coal in the country. Likewise, Kerry said he believes coal plants should not be allowed anywhere in the world.
"We will be working to accelerate unabated coal phase-out across the world, building stronger economies and more resilient communities," Kerry said.
In that sense, the nonpartisan Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis detailed that the United States is on track to close half of its coal-fired generation capacity by 2026, just 15 years after it peaked in 2011.