The Emirati president of COP28, Sultan Al Jaber, considered that the “exit” of fossil fuels was “inevitable” but appeared to say that it was not essential to limit warming to 1.5 ° C, in an exchange tense in November with former Irish president Mary Robinson and reported by the Guardian Sunday.
Sultan Al Jaber, who combines his functions with those of boss of the national oil company Adnoc, spoke on November 21 in an online event organized by the She Changes Climate initiative, according to a video broadcast by the Guardian.
Mme Robinson, president of the group of Wise Men (senior officials, peace activists and human rights defenders), challenged Sultan Al Jaber on her refusal to call for an exit from fossil fuels.
“I will in no way subscribe to alarmist discussions. No scientific study, no scenario, says that the exit from fossil fuels will allow us to reach 1.5°C. 1.5°C is my North Star. And a reduction and exit from fossil fuels is, in my opinion, inevitable. It’s essential. But you have to be serious and pragmatic. »
“Show me the road map for an exit from fossil fuels that is compatible with socio-economic development, without sending the world back to the age of caves,” he then added.
Show me the roadmap for an exit from fossil fuels that is compatible with socio-economic development, without sending the world back to the age of caves
In this he repeats his line maintained in every speech consisting of saying since June that the reduction of fossils is inevitable, but that it was first necessary to build the energy system of tomorrow before disconnecting fossils. And that developed countries must set an example.
He even speaks in this exchange of both “reduction” and “exit” of fossils.
The sentence that shocks some climate activists and experts is the one concerning science, while Sultan Al Jaber constantly assures that he relies on both science and economic reality, and wants to keep “1.5°C within reach”. of hand”, an objective written on large posters throughout the COP site in Dubai.
The exchange does not include any discussion of a deadline, which is a source of confusion.
What does the International Energy Agency (IEA) say about the required reduction in fossil fuels to achieve carbon neutrality?
In its September report, the IEA estimates that fossil fuel production must fall by 83% between 2022 and 2050, leaving a residual production of 88 exajoules (EJ), compared to 511 EJ in 2022 (a unit of measurement of the ‘energy).
What the COP28 presidency was quick to point out: “The IEA and the IPCC scenario for 1.5°C clearly say that fossil fuels have a role to play in the future energy system, albeit a smaller one” , declared a spokesperson to AFP.