The president-designate of the UN Cop28 climate summit has said that an “unprecedented outcome” that would keep alive hopes of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C is within reach even Saudi Arabia is expected to come with positive commitments.
Significant progress has been made in recent weeks on key aspects of a deal at the crucial meeting that starts in Dubai this week, with countries agreeing a blueprint for a fund for the most vulnerable, and reaching an important milestone on climate finance.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Sultan Al Jaber, who will lead the talks on behalf of the Cop28 host country, the United Arab Emirates said that the positive momentum meant the world could agree a “robust roadmap” of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 that would meet scientific advice.
“I have to be cautiously optimistic,” he said. “But I have the levers and the traction that I am experiencing today that will allow for us to deliver the unprecedented outcome that we all hope for.”“Getting back on track, and ensuring that the world accepts a robust understanding of a roadmap to 2030 that will keep [a temperature rise above pre-industrial levels of] 1.5C (2.7F) within reach is my only goal.”
World leaders and heads of state and government, including King Charles III, the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the pope, are expected to attend the first few days of the fortnight of talks, which begin on Thursday.
While Joe Biden of the US and Xi Jinping of China are not expected to attend, they will send high-level representatives. More than 70,000 delegates are expected, and ministers and high-ranking officials from 198 countries will try to forge agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions urgently in order to hold global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, a target that is slipping rapidly out of reach as temperatures soar and carbon emissions continue to rise.
Al Jaber is also chief executive of the UAE national oil company, Adnoc. Campaigners say this is a conflict of interests, but Al Jaber has insisted it will help him to engage businesses and other oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, a close ally of UAE, and the world’s second biggest oil producer behind the US.
Story was adapted from the Guardian.