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COP28 Day 5 Recap: President Al Jaber’s ‘Fossil Fuel Science’ remark, green finance and ‘more declarations’ | 10 points

The controversy

On Monday, COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber defended his role in hosting this year’s UN climate summit and insisted he understood and respected the science of climate change.

He was responding to a December 3 report in the Guardian newspaper on comments he made last month on the phase-out of fossil fuels that have sparked criticism at COP28. The Guardian story had quoted Al Jaber saying during a November 21 online event that “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”.

During Monday’s news conference, Al Jaber complained to reporters that “one statement taken out of context with misrepresentation” had received “maximum coverage”. He said, “I am quite surprised with the constant and repeated attempts to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency.” 

He added, “We are here because we very much believe and respect the science. 43 per cent of global emissions must be reduced by 2030. That’s 22 gigatons. And we need to make that happen to keep 1.5’C within reach,” the COP28 President said.

The controversy over the COP28 presidency has been brewing ever since the summit began. Oil is a fossil fuel that is one of the major sources impacting the global climate. Now, the country hosting the COP28 summit, the UAE, is one of the world’s top 10 oil-producing nations. Moreover, it has appointed the chief executive of the state-owned oil company, Sultan al-Jaber, president of the COP28 talks.

According to reports, COP28 Presidency and Saudi Arabia launched the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter (OGDC), a global industry charter aimed at speeding up climate action across the oil and gas sectors. 

Officials were quoted by Emirates News Agency as saying that 50 oil and gas companies, representing more than 40 per cent of global oil production, signed the charter. “Signatories have committed to net-zero operations by 2050, ending routine flaring by 2030, and near-zero upstream methane emissions,” Arab News reported.


1. During the Global Climate Action Through Fostering Sustainable Finance event at COP28, HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chair of the UAE Banking Federation unveiled that the UAE Banking Federation has collectively pledged to mobilize AED 1 trillion, equivalent to nearly $270 billion, by 2030.

2. COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber three more declarations will be announced in the coming days on hydrogen, cooling, and gender. “I am especially proud that we have delivered the first-ever declarations on health and food systems. These are two massive priorities for our COP28 Presidency action agenda,” he said.

3. The UAE banking sector came together to announce a landmark commitment to collectively mobilize more than $270 billion in sustainable finance by 2030.

4. The UK announced the first ever climate-resilient debt clauses in Africa, with Senegal. As many 73 countries joined together to issue a call to action on the adoption of these clauses. “The United Kingdom (UK), France, the World Bank, the African Development Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) just announced they will expand the use of climate resilient debt clauses in their lending, which pause debt when countries are hit by natural disasters,” COP28 account on X posted on Monday.

5. France and Japan announced they will lead in supporting the African Development Bank’s breakthrough facility to leverage Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for climate and development, channelling additional resources where they are needed most. SDRs are rainy-day foreign exchange reserves held at the International Monetary Fund, backed by dollars, euros, yen, sterling and yuan.

6. Renewable energy firm ReNew Energy Global Plc inked an initial pact with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a funding of $5.3 billion. “The MoU was signed at COP28, Dubai by ReNew’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, Sumant Sinha and Suzanne Gaboury, Director General, Private Sector Operations Department, ADB,” a company statement said.

ALSO READ: India refuses to sign COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health. Here’s why

7. The Arab Energy Fund, formerly known as APICORP, plans to invest up to $1 billion over the next five years in decarbonisation technologies, the Middle East and North Africa-focused multilateral financial institution were quoted by Reuters as saying on Monday. The planned investment and new name are part of a five-year strategy to 2028 to support the regional energy transition towards net-zero goals. The announcement was made during the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

ALSO READ: COP28: PM Modi meets Israel President, emphasises India’s support to two-state solution to Palestine issue

8. A consortium led by the Rockefeller Foundation launched a pilot initiative to use carbon credits to retire a coal power plant in the Philippines before the end of its natural life, it said on Monday during the COP28 climate talks in Dubai. 

The Coal to Clean Credit Initiative (CCCI) said its project was a “first of its kind”, in that it plans to make use of carbon credits to finance the early closure. In the latest plan to be announced on the sidelines of the summit, the CCCI said it aimed to use carbon credits to decommission the South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation (SLTEC) plant by as early as 2030, a decade ahead of its current retirement date.

9. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday it will allot $10 billion in climate finance for the Philippines between 2024 and 2029. The funds will help the Philippines implement its commitments to climate action under the Paris Agreement, the ADB said in a statement during the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

10. Canada, Brazil and Egypt will announce new methane regulations at the COP28 climate summit later on Monday, a US official told Reuters. As of Monday, 155 countries have signed up as members of the Global Methane Pledge, a voluntary partnership committing countries to collectively reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent from 2020 levels by 2030.


> Speaking in the “Finance Day”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Developed countries must show how they will double adaptation finance to $40 billion a year by 2025 as promised, and clarify how they deliver on the $100 billion, as promised.”

> “Climate change is not gender neutral. Women make up the majority of the world’s poor and despite and maybe because of this women and girls are at the forefront of climate action….This is why I am delighted and honored to announce the launch of COP28 gender-responsive trust transition and climate action partnership, said Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level

> IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, “We are at the point when speed, quality, and depth of action are absolutely essential if we are to fulfil our duties to the next generations.”

> “We should not wait a decade. Reducing emissions is crucial for climate action,” Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, said on Monday.

> “It is clear that the COP28 action agenda advocating Unite, Act, and Deliver, will be a critical guiding principle in scaling up sustainable finance, managing related financial risks, and meeting our internationally agreed climate targets,” HE Khaled Mohamed Balama, Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates Governor, said. He reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to accelerating sustainable finance.

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Updated: 04 Dec 2023, 06:37 PM IST


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