The President of COP28, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, has said that climate diplomacy should focus on phasing out emissions from oil and gas, leaving the door open for the continued use of fossil fuels while ramping up technologies to capture the carbon pollution produced from burning these fuels.
Speaking at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on May 2, Dr Al Jaber, who also heads Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), said, “In a pragmatic, just and well-managed energy transition, we must be laser focused on phasing out fossil fuel emissions, while phasing up viable, affordable zero-carbon alternatives.”
The meeting of 40 countries hosted in Germany’s capital was one of several assemblies ahead of the United Nations’ COP climate summit to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the end of the year. The European Union and others have lobbied for countries to agree at the annual talks that they should phase out the use of oil and gas – an idea that failed to make it to the final communique from 2022’s COP27 meeting.
Dr Al Jaber said the UAE will “encourage smart government regulation to jump-start the hydrogen value chain and make carbon capture commercially viable”. While the technologies are needed to mitigate emissions from hard-to-abate sectors, their deployment globally is currently far from the scale required to cut emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. He also called on rich nations to finally deliver on their promise made more than a decade ago to raise $100 billion to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to climate change.