The president of COP28 says there is “no science” behind calls for a phase-out of fossil fuels. 

Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, the oil executive leading the COP28 climate summit in the United Arab Emirates, reportedly stated in late November; “There is no science out there... that says the phase-out of fossil fuels is what’s going to achieve 1.5C”, referring to the critical temperature limit set by the UN.

The remarks have drawn widespread criticism, casting doubt on the summit's commitment to stringent pledges on fossil fuel reduction. 

However, al-Jaber has also referred to the inevitability and essential nature of a phase-down or phase-out, advocating for a pragmatic approach. 

He has urged for a road map that allows sustainable development, cautioning against extreme measures that could regress the world.

Climate activists at COP28 have expressed outrage on social media, describing al-Jaber as “Count Dracula in charge at the Blood Bank”, and demanding stronger commitments to curbing fossil fuel use. 

Criticism of al-Jaber has been intensified due to his dual role as the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), a major global producer.

Despite controversy, al-Jaber, also heading Masdar, the UAE's renewable energy company, defended his stance against what he called “alarmism”.

He criticised the media coverage as misleading attempts to undermine the UAE's COP28 presidency.

In the midst of the scandal, the UAE showered over $30 billion on the developing world during COP28, asserting its commitment to a successful summit outcome. 

The UAE's significant financial contributions, including a $30 billion climate-focused investment vehicle named Alterra, were touted as the largest private fund for climate change action globally.