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UAE’s al-Jaber promises young activist he will listen; says nothing about fossil fuel ties

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BONN, Germany (AP) — A United Arab Emirates official named to lead the next global climate summit pledged Thursday to listen to young people’s demands for a seat at the table when negotiators gather in the Gulf state this fall. sound, but no response Criticism of his links to fossil fuel interests.

Speaking at the United Nations climate conference for the first time this year, UAE Industry Minister Sultan al-Jaber said he wanted the COP28 summit in Dubai to be “inclusive” and bring about “game-changing outcomes” for international efforts to tackle climate change.

“I am determined to make your engagement a success,” he said in a brief address to representatives of youth activist groups that have been calling on leaders to take tough action on global warming.

Comments made by al-Jaber in Bonn, Germany, drew cautious reactions from the audience.

“Many, including children and youth around the world, are very concerned about the integrity of (the UN talks) about your relationship and connection to the fossil fuel industry,” said Clara von Grasso of the International Network Youth Climate Movement ( Clara von Glasow) more than 1,000 campaign groups, told al-Jaber. “It’s time to prove them wrong and prove you mean business.”

“You have a unique opportunity, a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate leadership,” she said. “You can be a champion for change and make sure we phase out fossil fuels immediately.”

Al-Jaber is also the CEO of ADNOC, Reject the call to end the use of fossil fuels.

Speaking at a diplomatic reception late Thursday, al-Jaber called for “a just and balanced energy transition that leaves no one behind.”

“The gradual reduction of fossil fuels is inevitable,” he said, going further than the countries agreed in Glasgow Two years ago, the focus was on coalbut a blanket ban is still not advocated.

The goal, he said, should be a global energy system “without the use of unabated fossil fuels”. The term abatement refers to steps taken to reduce or capture greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, an idea experts say is technically challenging and expensive.

“There is no zero-emission fossil fuel,” said Hanna Fekete of the NewClimate think tank. “It’s always more efficient to produce renewable energy and use it directly.”

Fekete published a report with Climate Action Tracker on Thursday showing that many major oil and gas producers, including the United Arab Emirates and the United States, are now increasing output.

“The industry is behaving like a gold rush, not a climate crisis,” the authors warn.

That runs counter to the pledges made by countries at the Paris summit in 2015 to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, scientists say, carbon emissions need to halve by 2030 and reach “net zero” by mid-century.

Much of the painful but necessary emissions cuts in coral reef nations will fall to al-Jaber between November 30 and December. 12 talks, when negotiators will approve the first global assessment of what has been done since the Paris conference and what gaps still need to be filled.Preliminary talks attended by Jaber in Bonn, Germany so far Couldn’t even agree on a formal agenda.

Outside the venue, bus stops were covered with posters emphasizing Jaber’s ties to the oil industry. Inside, activists unfurled a giant banner that read “End Fossil Fuels.”

Alden Meyer, a longtime observer of climate talks at the Brussels-based E3G, said past summit chairs had had their most successful talks when they put their own national interests aside to find an agreement acceptable to all of the nearly 200 participating countries.

“The real question is whether Dr. Al-Jabir wants to do it, is he able to do it, and does he have the permission of the UAE leadership,” Meyer said. “If he wants to hold the COP successfully, he needs to get rid of the influence of the UAE as a major oil and gas producer, which wants to expand output.”

Still, al-Jaber’s acknowledgment of the need to “phase down” fossil fuels was a useful first step, Meyer said, adding that discussions needed to take place in Dubai.

His comments were echoed by Mohamed Adow, director of Nairobi-based Power Shift Africa.

“Al-Jaber is right to acknowledge that the gradual reduction of fossil fuels is inevitable,” he said.

“Doing so in a managed manner is good news for the UAE,” he said, noting that the Gulf state has ample solar and wind power as renewable energy sources.

“The clean energy wave is coming,” Adao said. “The nation will either ride the wave or be swept away by it.”

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