Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber with Bruno Le Maire. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The UAE and France will jointly launch a programme that will help accelerate clean energy development, notably in the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate (HTA) industries, including clean hydrogen solutions for mobility.

The two sides will develop commercial and investable opportunities in the sector by combining their expertise in the field.

The initiative builds on the partnership successes between Emirati and French companies in the clean and renewable energy sector. Industrial leaders from both countries have partnered in the development, investment, and operation of over 6.2 gigawatts (GW) of clean and renewable energy programs across the globe, notably two of the largest single-site solar projects in the world, located in the UAE, and mobilised over $6 billion in investment, displacing some 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Tuesday’s announcement comes as Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, President-Designate for COP28, and Chairman of Masdar, met Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of the Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, as part of his visit to the UAE.

The programme’s operations will be officially launched during COP28, the 28th session of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held in Dubai in November this year.

The investable opportunities in the programme will be developed jointly, with Masdar leading on the UAE side of the partnership, and aim to fully align with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, with each opportunity being assessed based on the relevant and internationally accepted methodology.

Dr Al Jaber said: “This initiative builds on the long-standing partnership between the UAE and France to take advantage of practical, commercial opportunities for low carbon growth that will accelerate the energy transition and promote climate action and sustainable economic development in both our countries and across the globe. Leveraging our combined technological and energy expertise, we will intensify our efforts to promote renewable and zero carbon energies to decarbonize economies and in particular hard to abate sectors. As the UAE prepares to host COP28, we are intent on making it a COP of Action and a COP for all. We are extending an open invitation to the world to join us in constructive efforts to raise ambition, move from deliberation to delivery and achieve the central goal of the Paris Agreement to keep 1.5 alive.”

Le Maire added: “This targeted programme will leverage synergies between public and private sectors from both countries to accelerate the implementation of impactful projects of clean energy development for transportation. I am very happy of this new illustration of France-UAE strategic partnership and our common objective to raise ambitions towards COP28”.

What are HTA industries?

Hard-to-abate sectors are those for which the transition to carbon abatement is not straightforward, because they either lack the technology or the cost remains prohibitive.

For instance, many heavy industries, such as the steel, cement, and aluminium sectors, employ extremely high-temperature processes that can, as of today, only be achieved in a cost-effective way by burning fossil fuels. Each uses carbon as an integral part of its process, and altogether this sector accounts for about 30 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.