Majid Al Suwaidi
The Director-General of COP28 is calling for the world to unite to cut emissions. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: COP28 is the world’s chance to write the great economic growth story of the 21st century, the event’s Director-General said on Monday.

“That’s the level of ambition that the UAE is bringing to its COP summit, said Majid Al Suwaidi. “And we’ll be counting on the support from the government, the private sector, or civil society, to work with us every step of the way to make COP28 a milestone moment on the path to a better future for everyone everywhere.”

Al Suwaidi said that the COP28 summit is one of the greatest responsibilities UAE has ever undertaken and that the collective ambition and commitment of the country to its success could not be higher.

“We are acutely aware of just how much is at stake at this critical year of this critical decade,” he said.

He said that we need to take these events into account and acknowledge the opportunities for climate action. “Because the world grapples with a series of complex economic challenges, whether it’s a looming global recession or spiralling global debt, there will be some who are tempted now to delay their commitments to climate action,” said Al Suwaidi. “But it would be a grave error to take our foot off the accelerator and slow down climate action and precisely the moment when we need it most.”

UAE leading the way

Speaking on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023, Al Suwaidi said that the UAE is calling on the whole world to remember that not only is the scientific case for climate action clear, but so too is the economic case.

“The UAE can testify to this from our own direct experience,” he said. “We have spent the last two decades diversifying our economy and turning our nation into a powerhouse of clean energy.”

“Where once the prosperity of our nation was dependent on oil and gas, today over 70 per cent of our national GDP comes from other sectors and revenues,” he added. “Climate action is not only the world’s greatest responsibility, but it’s also our greatest opportunity, our mission, at COP28 is to unlock that opportunity in every country on every continent.”

Call for political opportunity

Many countries in the Global South have been unable to access the finance, the technology and the support to implement climate solutions anywhere near the scale, so the Director-General of COP28 is calling for the world to unite to cut emissions, adapt to climate change, or react to its impacts.

“As we conduct the world’s first-ever global stock-take will have perhaps the greatest political opportunity of this decade to take stock, and more importantly, to take the action we need both to meet the climate commitments of the Paris agreement,” said Al Suwaidi. “This is our opportunity to help countries leapfrog development fueled by oil and gas and to power a new era of prosperity built on clean, sustainable energy.”