Kerry, Al Jaber say UAE is at forefront in climate change war

Filed on April 3, 2021 | Last updated on April 3, 2021 at 11.07 pm

The UAE has historically been at the forefront of implementing groundbreaking renewable energy programs.

John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, on Saturday visited major UAE projects in the field of clean energy.

Kerry took a helicopter tour over the world's largest single-site solar project, Noor Abu Dhabi, with Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE's Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology. He also visited the headquarters of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as well as MASDAR, a critical contributor to the UAE's 400% expansion of its renewable energy portfolio over the last ten years.

The envoy also visited Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world's first university with curricula devoted to driving sustainability solutions through innovations in artificial intelligence and two key solar installations, including Shams 1, one of the largest concentrated solar power plants in the world, where he was briefed on the upcoming 2 GW Al Dhafra Solar Project, which recently set a new record for the lowest solar power tariff at 1.35 cents/kWh.

Kerry ended the day with a visit to Abu Dhabi's Jubail Mangrove Park.

During the tour, Kerry met with a number of senior climate stakeholders in the UAE who outlined the major role the country plays in supporting clean energy projects to address the impact of climate change and mitigate its negative effects on ecosystems and various economic sectors.

At Jubail Park, Dr Al Jaber said: "The world is watching for concerted action on climate in 2021. Kerry's visit showcases the UAE's continued commitment to progressive climate action, which the UAE has always viewed as an opportunity to grow and diversify our economy, especially in light of these difficult times and of global efforts to reduce and mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on societies."

The US Special Envoy is visiting Abu Dhabi to attend the first Regional Climate Dialogue, jointly hosted on 4 April by the UAE and the US.

Dr. Al Jaber added: "I'm delighted that Kerry has joined us for an important climate dialogue with regional partners that will accelerate global progress toward climate goals. Over the past 15 years, the UAE has made bold commitments on climate change, domestically and internationally, and has demonstrated its ability to act on them. We look forward to further building on this progress to turn political commitments into new practical solutions with long term economic benefits for the UAE, the MENA region and the world."

Kerry said his visit to the UAE was part of efforts to make United National Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow a success and "address the climate crisis with the seriousness it demand."

"I'm delighted to have seen the largest solar field in the world's largest single-site solar project, Noor Abu Dhabi. I also listened to Dr. AL Jaber about the UAE's plan to lead the world in terms of technology as well as in mitigation of emissions. It's remarkable to find the UAE trying to lead many other nations in the search of new technology to address the global climate challenge and in transitioning to the new economy while facing this crisis.

"We face an enormous global challenge and it's growing in intensity. Tomorrow we will meet with a number of leaders from the region to share thoughts about what can be best done in order to raise our ambitions in Glasgow which is the most important conference after Paris Agreement."

Regional Climate Dialogue

The first Regional Climate Dialogue will bring together senior climate action representatives from the GCC, the MENA region as well as the UK.

The first Regional Climate Dialogue will focus on national and regional preparations for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26), set to run in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. The UAE was the first country in the region to sign the Paris Agreement and the first to submit an economy-wide Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce emissions compared to business-as-usual in 2030.

The UAE has historically been at the forefront of implementing groundbreaking renewable energy programs, reducing carbon emissions and working with multilateral organizations to shape a more sustainable future for the Middle East region and the rest of the world. Such efforts began with initial investments in the renewable space more than fifteen years ago.

The UAE has taken the long view that an energy transition was coming and placed a bet on nascent technologies that have made sound business sense over time.

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