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expert reaction to reports that COP28 president said there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels

Scientists react to the COP28 president saying there is ‘no science’ behind phasing out fossil fuels.


Prof Myles Allen FRS, Professor of Geosystem Sciences, University of Oxford, said:

“To limit warming even close to 1.5C, we must both scale down the use of fossil fuels and scale up safe and permanent carbon dioxide disposal. It’s simply not true that to stop global warming we have to stop using fossil fuels: what we have to do is stop dumping the carbon dioxide they generate into the atmosphere.

“All 1.5C scenarios that allow it have us still using fossil fuels past 2100, long after we have stopped them causing further global warming by disposing of all the CO2 they generate back underground. Everyone, including Sultan Al Jaber, agrees we will stop using fossil fuels eventually. The question is whether we can do it fast enough to avoid exceeding the 1.5C carbon budget by reducing carbon dioxide production alone. And he’s right, we can’t. We will generate too much CO2 so we will have to get rid of the excess. That’s what the science says.”


Prof Joeri Rogelj, Professor of Climate Science and Policy at Imperial College London, said:

“The COP President believes there is no science showing that fossil fuels must be phased-out to meet 1.5°C. I strongly recommend him asking around for the latest IPCC report. That report, approved unanimously by 195 countries including the UAE, shows a variety of ways to limit warming to 1.5°C – all of which indicate a de facto phase out of fossil fuels in the first half of the century.        

“Will that take the world back to the caves? Absolutely not, except to cool off during the next excruciating heatwave maybe. Research published just a week ago shows that ending extreme poverty has a negligible impact on global emissions. Less than 5% of today’s emissions until 2050 and potentially as little as half a percent.”





Declared interests

Joeri Rogelj: Coordinating Lead Author IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C, Lead Author IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Lead Author UNEP Emissions Gap Report

Myles Allen: “No COIs other than I’d rather like to stop global warming as soon as possible and recognise we need all options on the table to do so.”


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