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The president of Cop28 stated that their company will continue to make investments in the oil industry.

The leader of the Cop28 climate conference plans to persist in funding his oil company’s extensive production of oil and gas, despite leading efforts for a worldwide agreement to shift away from reliance on fossil fuels.

Sultan Al Jaber, who serves as the CEO of Adnoc, the national oil and gas company of the United Arab Emirates, stated to the Guardian that the company must meet the demand for fossil fuels.

The speaker states that their approach is straightforward – to remain a responsible and dependable provider of environmentally-friendly energy. They believe that the world will require the most cost-efficient, low-carbon barrels of energy, and they argue that Adnoc’s methods of extracting hydrocarbons are more efficient and have less leakage compared to other sources.

He emphasized that ultimately, the demand will determine the type of energy source that will be able to fulfill the increasing global energy needs.

He cited the results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which state that even with achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions, a small quantity of fossil fuels will still be necessary in 2050 to cap global temperature increases at 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels.

Al Jaber said his investment plans were viable within the 1.5C limit. “The world continues to need low-carbon oil and gas and low-cost oil and gas,” he said. “When the demand stops, that’s a completely different story. What we need to do right now is to decarbonise the current energy system, while we build the new energy system.”

Adnoc intends to invest $150 billion (£120 million) in the next seven years in the oil and gas industry. According to Al Jaber, this investment will sustain current production levels instead of boosting output. He also mentioned that Adnoc is sacrificing a significant portion of its potential extraction.

During the summit, he stated in an interview that although we possess the fifth most significant oil reserves globally, we are not utilizing them.

Al Jaber was widely praised by delegates at the Cop28 summit, which ended on Wednesday morning with a global agreement calling on countries to “contribute to … transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.”

This was the first instance in three decades of discussions on climate change that a worldwide agreement was reached regarding the fate of all non-renewable energy sources. While the deal was recognized as inadequate in preventing the severe consequences of the climate emergency, it received criticism from developing nations for lacking sufficient financial support. However, it was largely praised as a significant move forward.

Earlier this year, there was a lot of concern about Al Jaber holding both the positions of Cop28 and Adnoc leader. However, he was well-received as the president of Cop and received positive feedback from developing countries for actively addressing their concerns. Wealthy countries also praised his efforts to reach a consensus deal.

Al Jaber, who before taking on the Adnoc role co-founded the UAE government-backed renewable energy company Masdar in 2006, told the Guardian: “I am committed to the transition [to a low-carbon world]. This is something I have personally worked on for more than 18 years now. I know energy dynamics and energy economics. I’m an engineer.”

He claimed that his role as a business executive and head of an oil company had aided him in successfully securing the unexpected agreement. He stated, “During my time as president, we demonstrated to the world that having a leader with experience in the industry was not a disadvantage. In fact, it was a strength and an advantage.”

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The proposed plans for Adnoc by Al Jaber received criticism from climate activists. Harjeet Singh, the director for global engagement at the Fossil Fuel Treaty Initiative, stated that as the host country of Cop28, the UAE should lead by example. Developed nations must show concrete efforts to uphold the principles of the Paris agreement. Anything else would raise doubts about the progress made at the Dubai climate conference.

David Tong, a leader in the industry of Oil Change International, stated: “Al Jaber has clearly expressed his pride in the UAE consensus [the agreement reached at Cop28]. Now, it is crucial for him to put it into action within his company and shift away from relying on oil and gas. Otherwise, he will undermine the credibility of this process.”

According to Catherine Abreu, a senior member of the E3G thinktank, predictions indicate that the need for oil and gas will decrease in the near future. She stated, “Each fossil fuel company believes their products are unique and not contributing to climate change, and they have been able to use the shortcomings of the global climate agreement as a shield. However, the truth is now exposed and although progress may be slow, the situation will inevitably change.”

Al Jaber praised the agreement reached at Cop28 as “unprecedented” and “historic”. He shared his thoughts as the negotiations continued from Tuesday night to the early hours of Wednesday, following the strong rejection of a initial draft of a potential agreement.

After enduring numerous sleepless hours and engaging in diplomatic negotiations, during which he personally met with every country present at the talks and the delegates from many individual nations, he stated that at 2:30am on Wednesday, he observed the UAE’s negotiation rooms bustling with people and started to feel optimistic about the acceptance of a new draft text.

“I had a moment of realization when I witnessed the consensus manifesting itself in front of me. It was then that I understood that something significant was taking place. As I connected with their hearts and minds, they began to contribute to the development of the plan. It dawned on me that we were on the brink of making history. This is when I became even more determined and motivated than before.”

Source: theguardian.com