Munich: The United Arab Emirates views climate action as a key enabler of stability and economic prosperity and will seek to promote climate progress through the UN's Conference of the parties (COP) process and all other relevant forums in the run-up to hosting COP 28 in 2023.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate, said: "While climate change remains a huge global challenge, the world is actually in a much better position after COP 26 than it was just a few months ago, as 90 per cent of the global economy is now committed to net zero. That commitment sends a massive market signal, and it is clear that the time to invest in low carbon solutions is right now. This is, in fact, a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity to create new jobs, new industries and whole new sectors."
He continued, "As such, the COP process has a critical role in enabling an accelerated pathway to low carbon economic development. The key to success is inclusivity, bringing together the public and private sectors, scientists and civil society, developed and developing economies. I believe COP27 in Egypt can build on the successes of COP 26, and we intend, as hosts of COP 28, to build on that momentum by ensuring it as inclusive as possible and as solutions-oriented as possible."
Dr. Al Jaber made his remarks on a panel on the opening day of the Munich Security Conference entitled "Scaling Up Climate Action" alongside John Kerry, US President's Special Envoy for Climate; Dr. AK Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bangladesh; and Dr. Franziska Brantner, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Federal Republic of Germany.
The session, moderated by Zanny Binton Meddoes, Editor in Chief of the Economist, covered the role of international climate cooperation at a time of rising geopolitical tensions in the world. On this point, Dr. Al Jaber, remarked, "Times like these show how important international cooperation truly is, and whatever differences exist, addressing climate change is a shared global challenge. It is also worth keeping in mind that the scale of economic opportunity that comes with progressive climate action has the potential to bring nations closer together.
"By focusing on a challenge that unites us all, we will make greater room for cooperation and less space for disagreement."
Dr. Al Jaber added, "The UAE supports any forum that advances climate progress, including the proposal by the German Chancellor for a G7 "international climate club" if it can bring the right people together, in the right spirit, with the right aims, without disadvantaging developing countries."
He noted that the impacts of climate change could exacerbate conflicts if left unaddressed. "The fact is, as the trend toward extreme weather patterns continues, climate impacts are increasingly affecting a range of issues from food security to water security and sowing the seeds of future conflicts. In other words, climate concerns are becoming security concerns, and we need to upgrade our response accordingly. There needs to be greater emphasis placed on climate resilience and adaptation."
Dr Al Jaber noted the need to increase investments in agri-tech and leverage best practices that safeguard vulnerable nations' food and water security.
He reiterated the UAE's support for robust climate finance and that the world should make good on its pledge of $100 billion in annual climate finance to developing nations.
"These countries have contributed the least to climate change, yet they face the largest costs of inaction. A just transition must ensure that the right level of finance flows to countries that need it most. The result will be greater peace, stability and prosperity not just for those countries, but throughout the world."
Regarding the energy transition, Dr. Al Jaber said: "We should acknowledge that the energy transition is exactly that: a transition, and transitions take time. For our collective security, the world will need to continue using all energy options for a long time. As such, it is critical to ensure investment flows to the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon oil and gas resources. Our primary goal should be to hold back emissions, not progress."