The president of the ongoing UN climate talks Sultan al-Jaber has hit back at claims that he denies a core part of climate science.
It follows his earlier comments that there was “no science” behind requiring the end of fossil fuels in order to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.
“We very much believe and respect the science,” he said on Monday.
The talks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, aim to make progress on tackling climate change.
All countries at the UN climate talks in 2015 agreed to slash releases of warming gases in order to keep average global temperature rise below 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels.
But in an online event on 21 November with Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, Mr Jaber appeared to deny that.
“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5C,” he said.
On Monday, the fifth day of the UN talks, Mr Jaber said “let me clarify where I stand on the science”.
“I honestly think there is some confusion out there, and misrepresentation. I am quite surprised with the constant and repeated attempts to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency,” he said.
“I’m an engineer by background. Science has been central to my own career progress and yes I respect the science in everything I do,” he added.
Mr Jaber, 50, trained as an engineer and economist.
He spoke on Monday sitting next to the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Jim Skea.
“I can say Dr Sultan has been attentive to the science,” Prof Skea said.
The UN talks are dominated by the question of how and when the use of oil, coal and gas will be reduced.
Mr Jaber also referred to suggestions that he had been ill-tempered with Ms Robinson, the host of the November event.
“I had a conversation with someone I have a great deal of respect for,” he said.
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