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COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber Claims There’s “No Science” to Back Phaseout of Fossil Fuels

HeadlineDec 04, 2023

COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber is facing a new wave of criticism after claiming there is “no science” backing the phaseout of fossil fuels. Al Jaber, who is also head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, made the comments during a virtual panel last month on women and climate change in response to Mary Robinson, former U.N. special envoy for climate change and former president of Ireland.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber: “There is no science out there or no scenario out there that says that the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5. One-point-five is my North Star.”

During the combative exchange with Mary Robinson, Al Jaber repeatedly lashed out defensively and chastised the former Irish president.

Mary Robinson: “The science is very acute now. We don’t have any time. They say six or seven years. We’ve got to peak by 2025.”

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber: “Ma’am.”

Mary Robinson: [inaudible] “in fossil fuel” —

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber: “You — you — Ma’am” —

Mary Robinson: — [inaudible] “fossil fuel. And your company is investing in a lot more new fossil fuel, and that’s going to hurt women.”

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber: “Ma’am, you’ve just accused me of something that is not correct. I am sorry. I don’t take it. Now I ask you to prove to me how” —

Mary Robinson: “I read that your company is investing in a lot more fossil fuel in the future.”

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber: “Yes, Ma’am, you’re reading” —

Mary Robinson: “Is that not true?”

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber: “You’re reading your own media, which is biased and wrong. I am telling you: I am the man in charge, and it is wrong, Ma’am. You need to listen to me.”

In the lead-up to COP28, reports emerged that Al Jaber was using the event to make oil deals with foreign governments. Al Jaber rejected the reports. In remarks earlier today, he reiterated his supposed commitment to science, telling reporters here at COP, “We very much believe and respect the science.”

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