Climate challenge an opportunity to invest in new growth drivers

Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming will be beyond reach

FS Phase 1 Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.Supplied photo
FS Phase 1 Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.Supplied photo

By Saeed Mohamed Al Tayer

Published: Tue 9 Nov 2021, 11:28 PM

The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) refers to the unprecedented changes observed in the climate, and explains that strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. Nevertheless, unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.

Under the directives of a wise leadership, the UAE embarked on its journey of climate action long ago; when it acceded to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995. Since then, it has enacted a wide range of legislation and developed several sustainable development plans including the expansion of renewable and clean energy projects.

Widely commended around the world, the UAE’s initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It represents the UAE’s efforts to contribute positively to the issue of climate change and transform challenges in this sector into promising opportunities to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future, for generations to come.

In line with Dubai’s commitment to sustainability and its proactive role in supporting the future of energy and the efforts to combat climate change, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, approved an in-depth study conducted by the Dubai Future Council on Energy on how the Emirate of Dubai can achieve carbon neutrality (Net Zero Emissions) by 2050. This will be achieved through a strategy and a clear roadmap that depend on using renewable and clean energy solutions and technologies, creating investment opportunities in the field of green economy, and achieving a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability. Sheikh Ahmed directed all concerned authorities in Dubai to proceed with its implementation.

This significant move supports the pioneering projects in Dubai to diversify clean energy sources. These include different available clean and renewable energy sources and technologies such as solar photovoltaic systems, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), green hydrogen production using solar power, pumped-storage water technology, and studying electricity generation technology from wind power.

Dewa’s total clean energy generation capacity has increased to around 10 per cent of Dubai’s energy mix, and from the end of 2021 this will increase to 13.3 per cent in phases by Q1 of 2022. One of our key projects is the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, with a planned capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030 and investments of up to Dh50 billion. These efforts have helped Dubai reduce its carbon emissions by 22 per cent in 2019, two years ahead of the 2021 target set in the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 16 per cent.

In addition to renewable and clean energy projects, the UAE is promoting the global transformation into a green economy. Under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Dewa and the World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO) organised the 7th World Green Economy Summit (WGES) under the theme ‘Galvanising Action for a Sustainable Recovery’. It focused on four main themes: Youth; Innovation and Smart Technologies; Green Economy and Policies; and Green Finance.

With the participation of international figures and environment and green economy experts, the summit produced key recommendations to contribute to combating climate change. This enhances the UAE’s leading position as a strategic platform to support international cooperation in addressing global challenges and promote investments in the green economy, with expectations for the green economy to contribute about $12 trillion by 2030.

The next WGES will take place on March 2-3, 2022, in conjunction with the Regional Climate Week, the first of its kind in the Mena region during Expo 2020 Dubai. Convening the 7th and 8th editions of the WGES in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai, which is held under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, consolidates the position of Dubai and the UAE as a global hub for accelerating the pace of sustainable development and stimulating quality investments in green economy, as well as a driving force for strengthening international cooperation in combating global challenges.

In line with the vision of our wise leadership to turn challenges into opportunities, we take the climate challenge as an opportunity to diversify the economy and invest in new growth drivers to continue the path of development and prosperity, achieve the directives of our wise leadership and reach climate neutrality by 2050.

Saeed Mohamed Al Tayer is MD & CEO of Dewa

More news from Opinion