The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, has made controversial statements claiming that there is "no science" supporting the need to phase out fossil fuels to limit global heating to 1.5C. Al Jaber's comments, made during an online event, have been criticized by scientists as being concerning and verging on climate denial.
They are also contradictory to the position of UN Secretary General António Guterres, who emphasizes the necessity of phasing out fossil fuels. The issue of whether the final Cop28 agreement will call for a phase-out or use weaker language like "phase-down" is a highly debated topic at the summit. Over 100 countries already support a phase-out of fossil fuels, as deep and rapid cuts are required to mitigate climate impacts.
Al Jaber's role as the CEO of Adnoc, the UAE's state oil company, has raised concerns about conflicts of interest. The spokesperson for Cop28 defended the president's statements, stating that fossil fuels will still play a role in the future energy system, albeit a smaller one. The controversy surrounding Al Jaber's position further highlights the pressure on him to deliver a strong Cop28 deal.