While Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber, COP28 president-designate, will play a crucial role in leading the intergovernmental process, building consensus with a broad range of partners, his main priority is limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and tackling climate change with a united effort, he said.
“I have no intention whatsoever of deviating from the 1.5 goal,” Al Jaber told Reuters in his first interview since being assigned the role.
He said a major “course correction” was needed to stick to the target.
Stating that the focus was on building consensus, he expressed the need to mobilize more capital, pointing to reforming international financial institutions and engagement with the private sector.
He said he was ready to listen to all parties that wanted to engage positively. “How about, for once, we capitalize on everybody’s capabilities and strengths and fight climate change rather than going after each other.”
Jaber said an approach that leaves no one behind, including oil and gas companies, is necessary. He also mentioned the crucial role played by the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) model as a successful way to drive progress in transitional economies. The JETP model, approved for South Africa at COP26 and Indonesia at COP27, involves a public-private partnership approach that blends concessional and private finance to lower investment barriers and risks.
Acknowledging the passion of climate activists, Al Jaber stressed the need for balance with realism.
“The key to their success so far has been the public-private partnership approach that blends concessional and private finance to lower investment barriers and risks,” Al Jaber added.
COP28 in Dubai (November 30-December 12) will be the first assessment of progress since the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 to limit global warming.
The Paris Agreement committed countries to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to aim for 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level which, if crossed, could unleash far more severe climate change effects, scientists say.