US climate envoy John Kerry said the world must face up to the “enormous global challenge” together on his first day on a tour of the UAE.
US climate envoy John Kerry said the world must face up to the “enormous global challenge” together on his first day on a tour of the UAE. He is in Abu Dhabi this week to attend the Regional Climate Dialogue, which takes place on April 4.
“We face an enormous global challenge and it’s growing in intensity. Tomorrow (April 4th), 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 the Paris Agreement.”
Earlier, Mr Kerry visited Abu Dhabi’s Noor solar park, on the first day of a trip to the Emirates. He will later travel to India and Bangladesh – two countries badly hit by climate change-linked natural disasters.
Mr Kerry was given a helicopter tour of the facility, which is the largest single-site solar park in the world. He was accompanied by the UAE’s special envoy for climate change, Dr Sultan Al Jaber.
“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.” Mr Kerry said.
Turning political talk into action
Mr Kerry was later shown another major solar development, Shams 1, south of Zayed City in Al Dhafra. He also visited the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, which is devoted to driving sustainability solutions through innovations in artificial intelligence.
Mr Kerry concluded the day with a visit to Jubail Mangrove Park. Mangroves, native to the UAE, have the triple benefit of preventing coastal erosion, encouraging biodiversity and capturing more carbon per hectare than rainforests.
Mr Kerry vowed to swiftly make up for America’s “lost years” in the fight to protect the environment.
The UAE itself has ambitious plans to rapidly increase the amount of energy it generates from green and renewable sources. At the end of 2020, the country’s renewable capacity reached 2.3 gigawatts. That is forecast to leap to nine gigawatts by 2025.
Alongside the Noor solar site, which began generating power in 2019, there are four new projects that will drive this growth.
The biggest is the 2GW Al Dhafra solar scheme in Abu Dhabi, 50km outside the capital. By 2022, it will generate enough electricity for about 160,000 homes.
Dubai currently has more than one gigawatt of installed capacity – all of which comes from three phases at the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park.
Kerry to rally global action on climate
Mr Kerry is leading efforts to get countries to commit themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by about the middle of the century.
Mr Biden has called a summit of 40 leaders, including those of India and China, on April 22-23.
Later this year world leaders will gather for the UN climate summit in Glasgow to build on a 2015 Paris accord to halt the increase in global temperatures at levels that would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.