Climate change
Image Credit: Gulf News

As the world prepares for the next landmark meeting on climate change, COP26, in Glasgow (November 1 to 12 2021), with most countries racing against time to meet their commitments as per the 2015 Paris Agreement, the UAE will host a crucial meeting on Sunday that will for sure create a momentum towards fulfilling those ambitious goals.

The Paris Agreement aimed to restrict global temperature rise this century to “well below” 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. In November, the UK will be hosting the 26th annual session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, or “COP26”, in Glasgow.

COP refers to the decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to reduce the “dangerous” human interference with the climate system.

The UAE Regional Dialogue

Therefore, Sunday’s meeting in Abu Dhabi is important in offering the UN a chance to emphasise the need for swift action in the run-up to COP26. Called ‘The UAE Regional Dialogue’, the meeting will see the participation of John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, COP26 president Alok Sharma, in addition to ministers and high-level climate representatives from the GCC and Mena Region.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cabinet Member and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, says the meeting is important in many ways. “I believe we can create greater momentum for progress. The UAE views climate action as an opportunity for economic development, while contributing practical solutions to a global problem that affects us all.”

He pointed out that the meeting is significant as it is being held just before the upcoming Leaders Summit on Climate, which will be hosted by US President Joe Biden in Washington later this month.

The dialogue is also important as it seeks to come up with solutions to mitigate climate change impact while exploring new ideas and opportunities to turn those actions into economic opportunities. For example, a regional transition to a clean economy will certainly create jobs, promote sustainable development, and clean the air. When it comes to those ambitious plans, the UAE has shown the political will to move forward.

It was the first Gulf country to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement. And as part of that agreement, the cabinet in December 2020 approved an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23.5 per cent, or 70 million tonnes, by the year 2030, as part of the country’s contribution to realise the UN’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

With its vast renewable energy projects and clean economy initiatives, the UAE offers the region and the world viable ways to spur sustainable economy as a way to confront climate change.