Abu Dhabi meet pledges to accelerate climate action

Team KT/Abu Dhabi
Filed on April 4, 2021 | Last updated on April 4, 2021 at 10.54 pm

The summit also sought to enable the Mena region to discuss ways of initiating a new low carbon development path.

Climate leaders from across the Mena region have pledged to take collective efforts to accelerate climate action, and to work together for the success of the Paris Agreement.A call for enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and net zero commitments ahead of 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) was also heard at the UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action that concluded in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Participants, including US Climate envoy John Kerry, issued a group statement affirming their commitment to the Paris Agreement, building momentum ahead of US President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, taking place in Washington, D.C. later this month, and the COP26.

The summit also sought to enable the Mena region to discuss ways of initiating a new low carbon development path and enhancing cooperation with the international community to transform the climate challenge into economic opportunity.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE’s special envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said that accelerating climate action is both necessary and a huge opportunity.

“Coming just weeks before the Leaders Summit on Climate in Washington DC, today’s gathering could not be more timely. In fact, this principle has driven the UAE’s expansion in clean tech and sustainable development for the last 15 years.”

Dr Jaber said the clean energy investments “simply make good business sense” as backed by market trends and hard facts.

“Last year, for instance, set a record for newly installed renewable energy capacity at 260 GW. And this was achieved despite the economic headwinds of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the minister.

“Our region has enormous potential to contribute to tackling the global challenge of climate change. By coming together, we can maximize our contribution, leverage the latest technologies and focus smart investment to ensure truly sustainable development that facilitates economic growth.”

The UAE has ambitious plans to rapidly increase its clean energy resources. The UAE was the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement. Its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) also makes it the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The UAE’s second NDC includes an emissions reduction of 23.5 percent compared to business as usual for the year 2030. The enhanced target is expected to translate into an absolute emissions reduction of about 70 million tons.

The UAE is committed to working with its partner countries in the region and around the world to ensure that COP26 is both a political and a practical success, because just as with COVID-19, no country is safe from climate change until everyone is safe.

The group statement issued at the end of the dialogue highlighted the participants’ collective efforts to accelerating climate action, stating “we will work together to ensure the success of the Paris Agreement and will cooperate with our global partners to strengthen climate ambition”.

It went on to say that “we are committed to reducing emissions by 2030 and working collectively to help the region adapt to the serious impacts of climate change, to collaborating on mobilizing investment in a new energy economy”.

The following countries are signatories to the statement from the UAE Regional Climate Dialogue: UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the US.

COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said: “We all need to act with urgency to address climate change. Which is why I welcome the commitment today from our partners across the Middle East, at the UAE Regional Climate Dialogue, to accelerate climate action.

“There are huge investment opportunities in the transition to renewable energy – to grow our economies, create jobs and reduce the risk of climate disaster.”

“Ahead of COP26, I urge countries to follow this commitment with net zero targets and furthering ambition in this crucial decade to 2030.”

The dialogue covered core themes, such as stepping up the deployment of renewable energy, exploring the potential of new zero-carbon energy sources, maximizing the impact of mitigation technologies, including investments in new and emerging innovative solutions, as well as carbon capture, and reducing the carbon emission intensity of hydrocarbon fuels.

The conversation focused on the need to ramp up adaptation efforts to reduce the impacts of accelerating climate change, as well as on trends that are of particular concern to the region, including food and water security, combating desertification, and environmental conservation.

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