H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, will lead the UAE’s delegation at the pivotal global climate talks in Glasgow, ensuring the nation plays a key role in discussions with world leaders and national negotiators on measures to address climate change.
COP26 represents the latest opportunity for the 197 parties that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) treaty to discuss and formalise plans to cut global emissions to “net zero” by 2050.
The 197 signatory countries’ representatives will convene in Glasgow, on October 31 to take coordinated action on climate change. Hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, the summit runs for two weeks until November 12. The UAE’s participation at the event is further highlighted by its offer to host COP 28 in 2023.
His Highness Sheikh Abdullah said: “We look forward to working with the international community to build the path to a lower carbon economy to safeguard the environment and reduce emissions, as well as create lasting economic opportunity. We remain a committed partner in the world’s efforts to mitigate climate change and find inclusive practical climate solutions that will deliver sustainable economic growth. Should we be confirmed as hosts, our goal will be to make COP 28 as inclusive and action-oriented as possible, a COP that brings together developed and developing countries and unites all sectors – public, private, academic and civil society – around a focus on tangible solutions.“
His Highness added: “At a time of rapidly rising climate risk that threatens all countries, we approach this important responsibility with humility and also with determination to support the international community in our pursuit of a practical agenda that is focused on implementation, has ambition, highlights opportunity and drives change.“
The UAE is leveraging the path to a lower carbon economy to safeguard the environment, drive down emissions and create lasting economic opportunity. An unwavering commitment to reducing emissions – bolstered by the recent launch of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative – has led to a number of global and regional firsts for the nation. As part of its net-zero strategy, the UAE plans to invest AED600 billion in clean and renewable energy sources by 2050.
H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “Over the last 15 years, the UAE has invested heavily in clean technologies that help us both mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change while diversifying our economy, developing new industries and generating positive economic impacts for our people. We are focused on accelerating commercially viable clean technologies and cutting-edge solutions to enhance resource management and food and water security. This closely aligns with the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, which defines the next phase of our national development, creating new knowledge, new skills and new jobs.”
Highlighting the nation’s offer to host COP 28, he added: “We would leverage our experience as a global convenor focused on global challenges to bring together all stakeholders in order to accelerate climate solutions that make good sense for our environment and also simply make good business sense.”
Further building on the nation’s commitment to energy transition, the state energy company Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) announced a significant step in decarbonising its operations. Starting January 2022, ADNOC will source up to 100 per cent of its grid power from domestic solar and nuclear energy after an agreement inked with Emirates Water and Electricity Company, supporting the national UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.
H.E. Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The UAE has always addressed global challenges as a constructive global citizen, and we believe partnerships are the key to progress. This bold approach has underpinned our commitment as a first mover in climate action in the region. In fact, we are now building on our strong track record of climate innovation to drive sustainable economic growth.“
A constructive global citizen.
The UAE was the first country in the GCC region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement. This 2015 agreement commits signatories to work together to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030. Furthermore, the UAE was the first country in MENA to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions.
As a result of this forward thinking, the nation is now home to three of the largest and lowest-cost solar plants in the world – including Noor Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest stand-alone operational solar power plant, located in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi, featuring 3.2 million solar panels and producing 1.2 gigawatts of electricity. This results in a carbon footprint reduction of 1 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 200,000 gasoline-powered cars off the roads.
The UAE is the first country in the region to deploy industrial-scale carbon capture technology. In 2016, ADNOC and the UAE renewable energy company Masdar teamed up to launch Al Reyadah, a commercial-scale carbon capture facility that captures 0.8 million tonnes of CO2 from Emirates Steel plant annually.
The UAE also stands as the first Arab nation to deploy zero emission nuclear energy. When the four nuclear power reactors are completed, it is expected that Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will meet 25 per cent of the country’s electricity needs with zero carbon emissions.
There is a rise in Controlled Environment Agriculture in the UAE, such as automated vertical farms, which enhances food security and contributes to sustainable food systems.
Read the full press release here.