President of global climate summit calls phase out of fossil fuels ‘alarmist’
Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber asked to be shown a roadmap for a phase out of fossil fuels that would allow for economic development without taking "the world back into caves."
The president of the global climate summit known as COP28 questioned if phasing out of fossil fuels can be done without economic hardship.
“You’re asking for a phase out of fossil fuel,” Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, president of the summit, said. “Please show me a road map for a phase of fossil fuel that will allow, that will allow for sustainable socio-economic development. Unless you want to take the world back into caves.”
The comments were in response to questions from Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, chair of the Elders group and a former U.N. special envoy for climate change, during a live online event on Nov. 21.
The Guardian, which hosted the debate, posted a video of the exchange on Friday.
Robinson said that the world is “in an absolute crisis that is hurting women more than anyone,” which she blamed on the world not phasing out fossil fuels. She said that Al Jaber, as the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, could do more to phase out fossil fuels.
“I expected to come to this meeting to have a sober and mature conversation. I’m not in any way signing up to any discussion that is alarmist ... There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C,” Al Jaber told Robinson.