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COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber Affirms Commitment to Climate Science Amid Controversy

In the wake of recent criticism and media scrutiny, COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber took to the podium on Monday to defend his role in hosting this year's U.N. climate summit. Addressing concerns raised by a report in The Guardian newspaper, Al Jaber emphasized his understanding of and respect for the science of climate change.

During a news conference, Al Jaber responded to the December 3 report, which highlighted comments he made last month regarding the phase-out of fossil fuels. The remarks had sparked criticism within the COP28 community.

Expressing his surprise at what he deemed "constant and repeated attempts to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency," Al Jaber sought to clarify his stance on the issue. The Guardian's story quoted him from a November 21 online event where he stated, "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."

Al Jaber took the opportunity during the news conference to express his dissatisfaction with how "one statement taken out of context with misrepresentation" had garnered "maximum coverage" and fueled controversy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N. climate science agency, has consistently emphasized the imperative of reducing fossil fuel usage and eliminating unabated coal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. Al Jaber's comments seemingly contradicted this widely accepted scientific consensus.

To address the concerns raised, IPCC Chair Jim Skea joined Al Jaber at the news conference, emphasizing the collaborative nature of their discussions on climate science. "Dr. Sultan has been attentive to the science as we have discussed it, and I think he fully understood it," Skea stated.

The controversy surrounding Al Jaber's remarks underscores the delicate balance that leaders in positions of influence must strike between facilitating international dialogue and adhering to established scientific principles. As the COP28 presidency navigates the complex negotiations ahead, Al Jaber's commitment to engaging with climate science remains pivotal, as it directly influences the trajectory of global climate action.

In conclusion, COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber's defense of his role and affirmation of his understanding of climate science seek to quell concerns and re-establish confidence in the ongoing climate summit. As the world looks to COP28 for decisive action on climate change, the careful consideration of scientific principles and the collaborative efforts of leaders like Al Jaber and the IPCC are crucial for charting a sustainable path forward.



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