Sultan Al Jaber, president of the UN Climate Change Conference COP28, called for ending fossil fuels emissions using commercially viable CO2 capture technology.
“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,” he said at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Germany on May 2.
The appointment of Al Jaber, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, has been seen as a controversial choice. While green advocacy groups criticized choosing the head of one of the world’s biggest oil and gas producers to lead COP28, others, such as U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said in an interview for Associated Press he was “a terrific choice,” citing Al Jaber’s commitment to renewable energy.
COP28 will happen in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023. At last year’s conference, the EU and other nations lobbied for countries to agree on phasing out oil and gas. In the end, however, the proposal failed and the annual talks’ final resolution only included a commitment to phase down coal, something already agreed upon the previous year.
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Al Jaber said the United Arab Emirates “will encourage smart government regulation to jump-start the hydrogen value chain and make carbon capture commercially viable.”
CO2 capture is required to bring down emissions from heavily polluting industries. The technology, however, is far from the scale needed to bring down emissions to an extent that would avoid the worst effects of climate change.
The company led by Al Jaber is currently looking to expand oil and gas production, despite a scientific agreement that new fossil-fuel infrastructure will threaten temperature goals set under the Paris Agreement.
During the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Al Jaber called on rich counties to follow up on their promise made over 10 years ago to raise $100 billion to support developing nations to adapt to climate change effects and decrease emissions.
According to Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, developed nations are on track to achieve this goal this year. That wouldn’t be enough, however, she said, adding that developed countries will need “to mobilize several trillion.”
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