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COP28 president speaks out after ‘no science’ fossil fuel remarks spark fury | Climate News

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The president of COP28 has said comments he made claiming there was “no science” behind cutting fossil fuels were misrepresented.

The head of the climate change summit in Dubai sparked fury among climate leaders after saying there was no science to suggest phasing out fossil fuels will limit global warming to 1.5C.

Addressing the controversy over the remarks, Sultan al Jaber stressed that the phasing out of fossil fuels was essential.

He said the comments were misrepresented to get maximum coverage and hit out at what he called the “constant and repeated attempts to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency”.

The controversial remarks were made during an ill-tempered online question and answer session last month, a video obtained by The Guardian revealed on Sunday.

He hit out at scientists after fellow panellist Mary Robinson, a former UN climate envoy, said nations needed to commit to phasing out fossil fuel usage.

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Sultan Ahmed al Jaber hit out during an online session hosted by campaign group She Changes Climate, after Mary Robinson, a former UN climate envoy, asked him about fossil fuels.

He replied: “There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C…

“A phase-out of fossil fuel, in my view, is inevitable, it is essential. But we need to be real, serious and pragmatic about it.”

Al Jaber added later: “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.”

It is the latest controversy created by the COP28 president, who is also chief executive of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Critics have questioned his suitability for the role, due to his background in the oil industry.

He has also faced allegations that the UAE wanted to use the summit to strike new oil and gas deals – claims he has denied and described as “false”.

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