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The COP28 UAE logo is displayed on a screen during the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on Jan. 16.RULA ROUHANA/Reuters

The chief executive of oil giant Saudi Aramco, said on Tuesday this year’s COP28 UN climate conference should focus on cutting emissions from hydrocarbons, rather than reducing their production.

CEO Amin Nasser was speaking at the Energy Intelligence Forum in London, ahead of the climate conference which is due to begin in Dubai on Nov. 30.

“The focus should be on emissions. Today the focus is not purely on emissions, it is: we need to either shut or slow down big time your conventional (energy),” Nasser said.

Renewables alone cannot shoulder the burden of global energy demand, he said, adding that cuts to oil and gas production would result in energy shortages and price spikes.

The focus should be on adding carbon capture and storage and improving the efficiency of hydrocarbon production to reduce their emissions, Nasser said.

On Monday, climate ministers from the European Union said they would push for a world-first deal to phase out CO2-emitting fossil fuels at COP28.

However, countries are far from bridging the gap between those demanding a deal to phase out fossil fuels and nations insisting on preserving a role for coal, oil and natural gas.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 43 per cent by 2030 from 2019 levels to stand any chance of meeting the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

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