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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged global leaders at the 28th UN Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai to envision a future beyond reliance on fossil fuels.

During his address, as reported by the UN, Guterres emphasized the necessity of transitioning to sustainable practices, stating, “Make no mistake — the road to climate sustainability is also the only viable pathway to economic sustainability of your companies in the future.” He called on governments to facilitate this shift by imposing regulations, establishing fair carbon pricing, ending fossil fuel subsidies, and implementing a windfall tax on profits.

Guterres highlighted the urgency, arguing that combating the planet’s “warming crisis” is impossible with continued dependence on fossil fuels. He pointed out that achieving the global objective of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius hinges on ceasing all fossil fuel usage.

His comments come amidst criticism directed at the United Arab Emirates, host of this year’s conference, due to its heavy reliance on oil and allegations of human rights abuses. The UAE’s role as a significant oil producer has raised concerns over potential conflicts of interest.

The credibility of the UAE’s leadership in the climate conference was further questioned following a report by the Centre for Climate Change and the BBC, suggesting plans by the COP28 team to use the event to promote the interests of the UAE’s national oil company. Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, head of the UAE’s national oil company and COP28 president, categorically denied these allegations.

Speaking to The Associated Press in Dubai, al-Jaber refuted the claims as “false, not true, incorrect and not accurate,” assuring that the UAE’s role as the conference leader was not a ploy for oil deals.


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