COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber defended his role in hosting this year’s U.N. climate summit on Monday and insisted he understood and respected the science of climate change.
In a news conference, Al Jaber responded to a Dec. 3 report in the Guardian newspaper on comments he made last month on the phase-out of fossil fuels that have sparked criticism at COP28.
“I am quite surprised with the constant and repeated attempts to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency,” Al Jaber said on Monday.
The Guardian story quoted Al Jaber saying during a Nov. 21 online event that “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”.
During Monday’s news conference, Al Jaber complained to reporters that “one statement taken out of context with misrepresentation” had received “maximum coverage”.
The U.N. climate science agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has said that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 requires greatly reducing the use of fossil fuels and eliminating the use of unabated coal.
IPCC Chair Jim Skea joined Al Jaber at the news conference and said he had held several meetings with the COP28 chief on climate science. “Dr. Sultan has been attentive to the science as we have discussed it, and I think he fully understood it,” Skea said.