Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has slammed the door shut to agreeing to phase down fossil fuels at the UN’s COP28 climate talks, setting the stage for difficult negotiations in Dubai.
A tentative “phasedown/out” was included in a first draft of an agreement on climate action that delegates are haggling over during talks that are scheduled to finish on December 12.
But Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, a half-brother of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, told Bloomberg that Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, would not agree.
“Absolutely not,” he said in an interview in Riyadh.
“And I assure you not a single person—I’m talking about governments—believes in that.”
In an interview with AFP last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a total phaseout of fossil fuels, warning “complete disaster” awaits mankind on its current trajectory.
But Prince Abdulaziz said, “I would like to put that challenge for all of those who… comes out publicly saying we have to (phase down), I’ll give you their name and number, call them and ask them how they are gonna do that.
“If they believe that this is the highest moral ground issue, fantastic. Let them do that themselves. And we will see how much they can deliver.”