UAE a 'key part of the acceleration process' of climate action, says top minister

Assembly in Abu Dhabi sees high-ranking leaders follow-up on last year's UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 15 Jan 2022, 7:05 PM

The UAE has been a "key part of the acceleration process" in energy transition and climate action by adopting a more sustainable approach, a top UAE minister said during the 12th session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly held virtually in Abu Dhabi.

Titled 'Energy Transition: From Commitments to Action', the assembly witnessed ministers, heads of state and decision-makers follow-up on the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and discuss ways to implement and accelerate the commitments.

Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, in her address, pointed out that the UAE has initiated several initiatives and projects to build a sustainable future.


In October 2021, the UAE launched its Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, becoming the first country in the Mena region to do so – a drive in line with the norms set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

"To fulfil this ambition, the UAE is working on a sustainable economic growth model that will leverage research, development and innovation, and act as a catalyst for job creation with the aim of supporting national economy diversification."

Almheiri underlined that renewable energy will play a "fundamental role" in pursuing climate neutrality.

The UAE, she said, through its sustained efforts over the past 15 years, has more than 2.8GW of solar PV capacity in place and expects another 2GW to become operational with the inauguration of the Al Dhafra project.

"It (Al Dhafra solar project) is set to come online within this year."

The UAE is diversifying energy sources by developing alternative, more sustainable sources of energy, including the flagship initiative of building the blue and green economy.

In November 2021, the UAE and IRENA announced the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (ETAF) Platform with an aim to secure up to $1 billion in funding to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in developing countries.

"The UAE, through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, has pledged $400 million in funding to the platform," the minister said.

In December, TAQA, Mubadala and ADNOC became shareholders of Masdar, thereby creating a global powerhouse in renewables and green hydrogen. And next year, the UAE will host the COP28 with the participation of nearly 200 countries.

"I encourage everyone to work diligently to demonstrate that renewable energy is a key part of climate action over the next two years until the COP28 Conference takes place in 2023. Together, we look forward to more impactful accomplishments to build a sustainable future," the Emirati minister added.

Alexandra Hill Tinoco, Minister of Foreign Affairs, El Salvador, who was elected as the president of the 12th session of the assembly, said: "IRENA has 167 member countries. We have great capabilities to create synergies and bring about positive transformation worldwide."

Tinoco underlined that 80 per cent of energy produced in El Salvador comes from renewable sources.

"El Salvador is committed to working closely with IRENA and its members to achieve the vision of the future," she added.

Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister, Spain, highlighted the need to shift discussions to the next level with regards to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

"The urgency to embark on the 1.5-degree pathway is palpable. It is not an impossible task. It is challenging and full of opportunities," the outgoing president of the assembly said.

Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Spain, noted that the world added more than 260 GW of renewable energy capacity in 2020 – an increase of close to 50 per cent from 2019.

"If we were able to realise this achievement in a time of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, then we can certainly take bigger and faster steps to accelerate the energy transition in a way that is balanced, inclusive, ambitions consistent with the scientific consensus and aligned with the needs of people," she added.

Covid-19: Unvaccinated people not allowed at public places from tomorrow in Assam

CM rules out lockdown

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday announced that those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be allowed to enter public places like district courts, hotels, markets etc. from Sunday.

"Those not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter public places like district courts, hotels, markets etc. from tomorrow," said the Chief Minister while briefing media persons on the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Sarma further asserted that there is no situation of lockdown in Assam yet, however, wearing a mask is a must.

Meanwhile, the Assam government also revised the timings of night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am with effect from January 8 until further orders. Earlier, the night curfew timings in Assam was from 11.30 am to 6 pm.

As per the Standard operating procedures (SOP) for COVID-19 issued by the Assam Chief Minister earlier this month, the workplace and business establishments shall remain open till 9 pm. The functioning of private and public offices will be also up to 9 pm.

Shops dealing with groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, animal fodder will remain open till 9 pm. The dine-in restaurants, dhabas and other eateries will be allowed to operate with up to 50 per cent of seating capacity till 9 pm, while the takeaway of food items from restaurants, dhabas and other eateries will be allowed till 10 pm. The opening of sale counters, showrooms, cold storages and warehouses is up to 9 pm.

Auto Rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis shall operate for passengers with 100 per cent seating capacity and observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour for passengers. Pillion riding on motorcycles should be fully vaccinated and will be allowed only with the proper use of a mask.

In closed venues, the gathering is allowed upto 50 per cent of the seating capacity of the hall, auditorium etc limited to a maximum of 200, while in marriages and religious functions, 200 single vaccinated persons will be allowed and 100 persons will be allowed in funerals.

In cinema halls and theatres, 50 per cent of the seating capacity of fully vaccinated viewers and observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour will be allowed.

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