Dr Sultan Al Jaber addresses 'inevitable phase-down' of fossil fuels during climate talks

Cop28 President-designate says there must be transformational shifts, but that these must come in tandem with energy security

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, speaks during climate talks in Bonn, Germany. AP
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Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Cop28 President-designate, told climate talks in Bonn that scaling up renewable energy would assist in the phasing down of fossil fuel.

At a meeting of the heads of delegation at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany, which will conclude on June 15, Dr Al Jaber said there must be transformational shifts, but that these must come in tandem with energy security.

The transition must not only meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C but represent a just and inclusive package, bringing all countries and regions along.

He described the work in Bonn as crucial to success at the Cop28 meeting in the UAE in November.

“A transition that promotes policies and investments that scale up renewable energy, while working towards an energy system that is free of unabated fossil fuels,” he said.

“The phase-down of fossil fuels is inevitable. The speed at which this happens depends on how quickly we can phase up zero carbon alternatives, while ensuring energy security, accessibility and affordability.

“That is why Cop28 is calling for a global goal to triple renewable energy, double energy efficiency and double clean hydrogen, all by 2030.”

The setting of a target for renewables was a key focus of the Cop28 leadership's talks with the EU Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Wednesday.

Dr Al Jaber said the legacy of Cop26 and Cop27 could be fulfilled at the November meeting.

“At Cop26, parties agreed to double adaptation finance and we must fulfil that mandate along with the global goal on adaptation,” he said.

“And Cop27 agreed to implement a historic loss and damage fund, which we must fully operationalise, ensuring the fund and funding arrangements move from theory to reality.”

At the halfway point between successive Cop summits, the Bonn meeting features intensive negotiations on the technical nature of the likely outcomes later in the year. Dr Al Jaber said the UAE was committed to seeing those talks succeed.

“I don’t claim to have all the answers,” he said. “No one does.

“But I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work with everyone … and I fundamentally believe that if we work together, we can make history together. Cop28 is a milestone opportunity for the world to come together, course correct and drive progress.”

The event will be the first stocktake on progress by all parties to the 2015 Paris agreement – and there is much ground to make up.

“Cop28 will conclude the first Global Stocktake, measuring performance against the Paris Agreement – we already know that we are way off track,” he said.

“We have just seven years to achieve the 43 per cent emission cuts needed to keep the Paris ambition of 1.5°C within reach.

“As we have learnt from past experience, the more progress we make in Bonn, the higher the likelihood of success in December.”

Earlier in his visit to Bonn, Dr Al Jaber met indigenous representatives, noting that indigenous communities represent 5 per cent of the global population but protect more than 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity.

Razan Al Mubarak, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for the Cop28 Presidency, has advocated more inclusion of civil society groups in the climate fight.

“We need to put those on the front line of climate change at the heart of the solution,” she said.

“Women, indigenous communities and small island states – their perspectives are important not just because of inclusivity but because without them any solutions will be partial.

“Alongside government action, we need a groundswell of action by businesses, cities, non-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples, youth and women.”

Updated: June 09, 2023, 3:13 AM