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Cop28: backlash after president claims there is ‘no science’ behind phasing out fossil fuels – live | Cop28


Key events

Sultan Al Jaber may not think a phase-out of fossil fuels is necessary, but Pikachu certainly disagrees. My colleague Damian Carrington sends this eye-catching protest shot for the summit’s ‘financial day’.

Pikachu at the Cop28 conference in Dubai
Pikachu at the Cop28 conference in Dubai Photograph: Damian Carrington/The Guardian

Mia Mottley: ‘Extreme weather records are collapsing and our financial systems can’t cope’

The Prime Minister of Barbados and one of the world’s leading loss and damage negotiators, Mia Mottley, launched Finance Day at Cop with a press conference.

She said: “We live in the age of superlatives. Extreme temperature and weather records are collapsing, and our financial systems cannot cope.”

It may have surprised some that Mottley was so kind and polite to Sultan Al Jaber after his comments yesterday, thanking him for his work at the summit. But she is a diplomat, and that is her role.

She says:

Adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage. These are the three areas we have focused on in recent years. This is probably the most progress we’ve seen in the last twelve months in terms of finances, but we’re not where we should be, so first of all, I want to thank and would really like to thank Dr. Sultan. for his leadership and determination that we could leave Dubai with progress even though we did not arrive at the final destination.

“I would like to thank Dr Sultan for his leadership and determination so that we can leave Dubai with progress” – HE Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados pic.twitter.com/Jb59HUilLJ

– COP28 UAE (@COP28_UAE) December 4, 2023

Mottley also said the oil and gas sector needs to be at the table on decarbonization, just like banks and the financial sector.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley: Those who regulate banks and determine credit ratings should be part of the climate conversation.

She says the oil and gas sector also needs to be at the table.

“We cannot say that it is 1.5°C to stay alive, and we continue to play with voluntary commitments” pic.twitter.com/pRALXHSsfp

– Josh Gabbatiss (@Josh_Gabbatiss) December 4, 2023

Health deal reached, but no mention of fossil fuels

Nina Lakhani

Yesterday, 123 countries signed the first-ever Declaration on Climate and Health, which planned to galvanize financing for climate and health solutions and commit to integrating health goals into their national climate plans.

The United Arab Emirates has announced a “global” financial commitment of $1 billion for implementing health-focused climate activities, money from agencies including the Green Climate Fund, the Asian Bank of development and the Rockefeller Foundation. But, and it’s a big but, we don’t know exactly how much of this money is new money, and we also don’t know if this money will take the form of grants or additional debt for the vulnerable countries.

And while the declaration acknowledges that reducing climate health impacts will require emissions reductions, it doesn’t find a single mention of fossil fuels – which is a bit like having an alcoholism prevention plan. not to mention alcohol.

Opening summary

Good morning! This is Helena Horton, bringing you coverage of day five of the UN Cop28 climate summit.

It’s likely to be an interesting day as the fallout from my colleague Damian Carrington’s scoop continues. Many experts considered it a ‘mask’ moment when Cop28 president Sultan Al Jaber told a meeting there was ‘no science’ behind demands to phase out fuels fossils. Scientists reacted strongly to the news, calling it “astonishing” and “far-fetched.”

The Guardian will report the negotiations live throughout. You can email me at helena.horton@theguardian.com or on X/Twitter at @horton_officialand my colleague Sandra Laville (sandra.laville@theguardian.com, @sandralaville) will take over later.

Today’s official themes are finance, trade, gender equality and accountability. So expect reporting and information focusing on these themes, as well as the broader negotiations.

In the meantime, here are some of the highlights of yesterday:

  • Sultan Al Jaber, chair of the UAE’s Cop28 climate negotiations, told a meeting there was no science to show a phase-out of fossil fuels was needed to limit global warming to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above pre-industrial levels. The Guardian and the Center for Climate Reporting revealed Al Jaber’s comments.

  • Protesters at the conference called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

  • Indigenous groups have condemned the killing of an activist in Peru.

  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was criticized for his climate policies and short-lived visit while opposition leader Keir Starmer remained in Dubai to meet world leaders.



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