COP28 president faces backlash over 'no science' remark, clarifies

Phasing out fossil fuels dominated the summit talks

COP28 President under attack United Arab Emirates Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber speaks during a press conference at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates | Reuters

COP28 president Sultan al-Jaber sparked controversy by his 'no science' remark during the COP28 climate summit.

Jaber had said that "no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what's going to achieve 1.5 degree Celsious." His comments had alarmed scientists and advocates.

The future role of fossil fuels took the central stage of the climate change summit, which is one of the most controversial issues the countries are facing now.

While some are pushing for a "phase-out", others are calling for a "phase-down".

Jaber had made his comments on November 21, which was published by the Guardian. Jaber added that "1.5 degree Celsius goal was his north star" and a phase down and phase out of fossil fuel was "inevitable".

Facing backlash over his remarks, Jaber on Monday in a press conference clarified his stand on science. Jaber is also the CEO of the UAE's state oil company, Adnoc.

"I respect the science in everything I do. I have repeatedly said that it is the science that has guided the principles or strategy as Cop28 president,” said Jaber in Dubai. He also added that his statements were “misinterpreted”.

“We have always built everything, every step of the way, on the science, on the facts,” he added.

"I am quite surprised with the constant and repeated attempts to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency," he told responding to a report in the Guardian newspaper on his comments about climate science.

"I'm an engineer by background. Science has been central to my own career progress and yes I respect the science in everything I do," said Jaber.

"I have said over and over that the phase down and the phase out of fossil fuel is inevitable," he added, in one of his strongest statements yet about the future of oil, coal and gas.

The UN talks are dominated by the question of how and when the use of oil, coal and gas will be reduced, reported BBC.

The countries, heavily reliant on fossil fuels, are reluctant to agree to a complete end to the use of oil, coal and gas.

However, the countries on the frontline of climate change want stronger steps to tackle the fossil fuels issue.

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