COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber called the ongoing UN climate summit in Dubai a potential game changer and said he was “optimistic” about the outcome of the negotiations to reach an agreement as the event enters its final days.

“In the next few days, we have the potential to deliver a paradigm shift based on science with 1.5 degree Celsius within reach and redefine global economies, while keeping the most vulnerable at the centre of climate action. Here is where the work begins. Expectations are high, but we are very optimistic of the most ambitious outcome and to make this COP a transformative one,” said Al Jaber, while addressing a press conference with a team of ministers from various countries that have been leading the negotiations with all relevant parties.

He said he has been engaging with all parties, including relevant stakeholders as well businesses and industries, to push for the best possible outcome at the negotiations.  

“I certainly hope that all parties involved will come together to present a recommendation on language on the phase down of fossil fuels, on renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he added.

Al Jaber stressed that climate change can no longer be looked upon as a burden. “We must change the narrative into an opportunity. This can be seen as a new industrial revolution, which can create new jobs, and an economic stream. To do that, we need to be realistic and pragmatic in our approach. We have to complete the whole value chain. It can’t just be finance, we have to look at policy. Finance needs to be made accessible and affordable, so the finance is easy to tap into and it can be delivered on a timely basis.” 

Addressing the open letter that was sent out earlier on Friday, signed by close to 1,000 leaders, CEOs, NGOs and activists, appealing to Al Jaber for a positive outcome at COP28, he stated: “We have a momentous few days ahead of us. COP28 has been different and it has already made history. There is a sense of willingness and flexibility, that something unprecedented will possibly happen.”

(Reporting by Bindu Rai, editing by Brinda Darasha)