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Dr Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President, speaks at the UNFCCC Formal Opening of COP28 during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on Thursday Image Credit: COP28/Christopher Pike

Dubai: The President of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 Climate Conference taking place in Dubai has urged the 200-plus delegates at the UN-led event to adopt an “unconventional approach” and include oil and gas companies in the climate conversation.

“This is the presidency that boldly chose to engage with oil and gas companies. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. But now, many of these companies are committing to zeroing out methane emissions by 2030 for the first time,” Dr Sultan Al Jaber said.

Dr Jaber officially assumed the role of COP28 President in a ceremony on Thursday to mark the official transfer from his predecessor, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry.

“National oil companies have adopted Net Zero 2050, and I’m glad they have stepped up to this game-changing journey. They [oil and gas companies] can do much more; they can lead the way,” he added.

“We must look for ways to ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels. I know strong ideas exist against including language on fossil fuels and renewables in the negotiated text. But we have the power to do something unprecedented. I ask you to work together,” he urged delegates.

‘Go the unconventional way’

“We have the power to do something unprecedented. We have no choice but to go the unconventional way. We must work together, be flexible and find common ground,” said Al Jaber. However, he assured delegates he would not lose sight of the Presidency’s North Star 1.5 degrees Celsius. “I will stay laser-focused on it,” he added.

COP28 UAE is taking place at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12 and the conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors.

“The science has spoken,” Dr Al Jaber told delegates. “It has confirmed the moment is now to find a new road, a road wide enough for all of us, free of the obstacles and detours of the past. That new road starts with an ambitious decision on the Global Stocktake, which corrects course and accelerates action to 2030.”

‘Collaboration is in UAE’s DNA’

Dr Al Jaber told delegates that the UAE reflects the spirit needed at this edition of COP. “My country is only two years older than me, making it very young. It is a nation that rose from the desert with the vision of our late leader, Sheikh Zayed,” said Al Jaber.

“We may be a young nation – but we have big ambitions and hold fast to principles like collaboration, optimism, true partnership, determination and commitment. These are the ingredients that make up the DNA of the UAE. And I believe these core values of trust, purpose, partnership and pragmatism must define COP28,” he said.

As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE is delivering the first ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals.

The UAE is leading a process for all parties to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress through a pragmatic global energy transition and a “leave no one behind” approach to inclusive climate action.