The United Arab Emirates’ incoming COP28 president urged the energy industry on Thursday to “step up its game” towards building a clean energy system.
Oil and gas firms need to achieve net-zero emissions by or before 2050 while an industry-wide commitment to reach near-zero methane emissions by 2030 needs to be accelerated, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber told the OPEC International Seminar in Vienna, a meeting of oil industry CEOs with ministers from OPEC and allies.
“The phase down of fossil fuels is inevitable. It is in fact essential. But it cannot be irresponsible,” Jaber added.
Jaber was a controversial pick to lead the United Nations COP28 climate summit because his country is an OPEC member and a major oil exporter.
He has called for an inclusive summit that brings together all stakeholders including the fossil fuel industry.
“The critical challenge of this century is to dramatically reduce emissions, while maintaining robust sustainable development,” he said.
“That is why I am so focused on COP28 being truly inclusive.”
Jaber told attendees of the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston earlier this year to work together to deliver ambitious action on the clean energy transition.
The UN-backed climate change conference’s recent inclusion of oil and gas representatives is a far cry from the 2021 summit, where energy companies complained they were shut out of the event.