Emirati Engineer Abdul Aziz at Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant at the Madinat Zayed Gharbia UAE. Image Credit: Gulf News / Hadrian Hernandez

Abu Dhabi: The UAE plans on exceeding its ‘conservative’ target of making 24 per cent of its energy mix come from renewable sources by 2021, a top official in the capital said today.

In the first major meeting after the recently concluded COP21, a number of top leaders gathered during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week’s (ADSW) Global Action Day to answer the question: “What now?”

Quoting Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UAE Minister of Environment and Water Dr Rashid Bin Fahd said: “During COP21, the world finally listened to the late Shaikh Zayed [Bin Sultan Al Nahyan].”

In fact, the UAE strives to set a model for others to follow and bids to do beneficial work for others to learn from, the official said.

“We not only do work in the field of sustainable energy for us but to help others because we believe we have to lead by example. The region needs success stories to learn from and so we like to share what we have with others,” he added.

Echoing Dr Fahd’s statement, Dr Adnan Ameen, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), said: “Domestic policy is more important than anything else to secure long term transparent governance.”

Earlier, during the ADSW’s opening ceremony, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, lauded this state of unprecedented unity against climate change, adding: “Achieving sustainable development and meeting the world’s growing demand for energy cannot be met by one source alone. All energy sources, both traditional and new, must work hand-in-hand. And that is why our leadership has prioritised economic and energy diversification as fundamental pillars to achieving sustainable development.”