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COP28: Amy Goodman Attempts to Question UAE Oil CEO Serving as President of U.N. Climate Talks in Dubai


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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting from the U.N. climate summit in Dubai here in the United Arab Emirates.

The president of the climate summit, UAE oil CEO Sultan Al Jaber, is facing ongoing criticism for his recent comments claiming there’s “no science” to back up calls to phase out fossil fuels in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. During a recent Zoom call with former Irish President Mary Robinson and others, Sultan Al Jaber said a full phaseout of fossil fuels would, quote, “take the world back into caves.”

SULTAN AHMED AL JABER: There is no science out there or no scenario out there that says that the phaseout of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5. One-point-five is my North Star. … Please, help me. Show me a roadmap for a phaseout of fossil fuel that will allow — that will allow for socio — for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.

AMY GOODMAN: Those were the words of Sultan Al Jaber, the president of this year’s climate summit and, yes, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, called ADNOC. His comments directly contradict those of U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who says a phaseout of fossil fuel is a critical step.

SECRETARYGENERAL ANTÓNIO GUTERRES: The science is clear: The 1.5-degree limit is only possible if we ultimately stop burning all fossil fuels — not reduce, not abate — phase out with a clear timeframe aligned with 1.5 degrees.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, the U.N. climate summit president, Sultan Al Jaber, held a town hall meeting just behind me, inside the U.N. climate summit here in Dubai. We attempted to get in right after our show, but we were told the press wasn’t allowed inside. I tried to ask him a question on the way in. We were then directed to an overflow room buildings away, but raced back to try to question Sultan Al Jaber as he left the town hall meeting.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Al Jaber, do you believe in a fossil fuel phaseout? Can you answer a question from the press? Dr. Al Jaber, can you tell us why there are 2,500 fossil fuel lobbyists here? Dr. Al Jaber, can you tell us if there should be a fossil fuel phaseout? Dr. Al-Jaber, one question — I can’t keep up with you.

YVES: He’s on call, Madame. He’s on call.


YVES: He’s on call.


YVES: He’s on call.

AMY GOODMAN: I know. He’s doing his job. I’m doing mine.

AIDE: Please come to the press conference. Please.

AMY GOODMAN: When is the press conference?

AIDE: Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

AMY GOODMAN: What time?

AIDE: They will let you know. Please. OK?


AIDE: Thank you so much. Thank you.

YVES: Congratulations. You are a strong lady.

AIDE: Come to the press conference, please. OK?

AMY GOODMAN: OK, I will. But I’m going to try to get an answer here.

AIDE: He’s busy now.

AMY GOODMAN: OK. I will come to the press conference.

YVES: Yes, please, please. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Al Jaber, could you just answer one question from the press?

YVES: Please, Madame. Please.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Al Jaber, one question from the press. People want to know why there are a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists at this conference.

AIDE: Please come to the press conference tomorrow. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Ooh! Excuse me.

YVES: No, stop, please. No press at this place. No press, please. No press at this place.


YVES: Thank you.


YVES: [inaudible]

AMY GOODMAN: OK. Are you his security?

YVES: Yes. You know, I’m working for U.N. in general. Really —

AMY GOODMAN: Oh. What is your name?

YVES: Yves.

AMY GOODMAN: Oh. Hi, Yves.

YVES: Really, Madame, you are incredible. Last week —

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Two years ago. Amy Goodman. Democracy Now!

YVES: What is your media, Madame? What is your media?

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: We do a public television/radio show — 


AMY GOODMAN: — called Democracy Now! around the world.

YVES: And you come from U.S.A.?



YVES: Oh, New York. OK. Incredible.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your name?


YVES: Yves. Yves.

AMY GOODMAN: And what’s your last name?

YVES: Sorry? Yves.

AMY GOODMAN: Yves Sorry.

YVES: Yves. Yves. No, thank you very much. I’ll see you soon.


YVES: Thank you so much.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I tried to ask the president of the COP, who happens to be the head of the largest — one of the largest oil companies in the world, ADNOC, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company — it’s remarkable that the head of the oil company is the head of the U.N. climate summit — if he’s for a fossil fuel phaseout — in the past he has said no — and also why there’s a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists here. I tried. Anyway, they say there will be a news conference tomorrow, so we’ll try again then.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, in fact, there was no news conference called today by Sultan Al Jaber. What the aide said wasn’t true. It’s past 5:00 today, so I guess there are still a few more hours.

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