Abu Dhabi summit: Regional leaders pledge to accelerate progress on climate action
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Abu Dhabi summit: Regional leaders pledge to accelerate progress on climate action

Abu Dhabi summit: Regional leaders pledge to accelerate progress on climate action

A total of 11 countries have signed a group statement to ensure the success of the Paris Agreement

Regional leaders participating at Abu Dhabi’s climate summit have pledged to accelerate action to tackle the problem and have affirmed their commitment to ensure the success of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action, which concluded on April 4, saw 11 countries, including the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the US sign a group statement to take climate action.

“We will work together to ensure the success of the Paris Agreement and will cooperate with our global partners to strengthen climate ambition,” the group statement said.

“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 mobilising investment in a new energy economy,” it added.

The Abu Dhabi event provided a platform for participating countries to collaborate in their responses to climate change and increase global climate ambition.

It 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.

“We are all here because we all believe that accelerating climate action is both necessary and a huge opportunity,” said the UAE’s special envoy for climate change Dr Sultan Al Jaber.

“In fact, this principle has driven the UAE’s expansion in clean tech and sustainable development for the last 15 years. We have discovered that these investments simply make good business sense. This view is backed up by market trends and hard facts. Last year, for instance, set a record for newly installed renewable energy capacity at 260GW. And this was achieved despite the economic headwinds of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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

The meeting came ahead of US President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, taking place in Washington DC later this month, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

It saw the participation of high-level dignitaries including COP26 president-designate Alok Sharma, US special envoy for climate John Kerry, as well as representatives from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The event covered core themes, such as stepping up the deployment of renewable energy, exploring the potential of new zero-carbon energy sources, maximising 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 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.

“We all need to act with urgency to address climate change,” said COP26’s Alok Sharma.

“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 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 per cent 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 tonnes.

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