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The UAE has for decades looked to position itself at the forefront of addressing the climate emergency Image Credit: Shutterstock

It says a lot when the Chairman of the COP26 is almost driven to tears by the excruciating process of securing a deal to fight climate change on a Global basis.

This frustration is one thing that can be understood, with the clear lack of real appreciation of the conflicting drivers of the various nations represented.

At its simplest we are observing the developed nations of the world repeating the same mantra from past generations to justify the extraction of natural resources without fair recompense and now with a desire to avoid the financial consequences to the climate of this action.

As with Covid-19, the global climate emergency is a threat to us all, which demands a new form of brave leadership to steer nations through to a goal of common success.

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The exceptional talent that is available throughout the nations of this planet should be encouraged to work together, sharing knowledge for a common benefit, rather than being drawn into a world focused purely on shareholder return and profit maximisation, with no concern for the implications.

Given the lack lustre performance at COP26, it is an enormous relief to welcome the announcement that the UAE will host and chair COP28.

A country that has quietly shown the world what economic development can and should look like, for the benefit of all of those who live there, is ideally placed to lead by example.

The UAE overshadows most sovereign investor, in terms of its commitment to renewable sources of energy, with 30% of the total investment globally.

The UAE has for decades looked to position itself at the forefront of addressing the climate emergency and is doing this with significantly greater investment than any other nation on the planet.

A massive benefit

For those of us that retain hope that a coordinated plan to reduce greenhouse emissions can be achieved, the UAE hosting of COP28 is a massive benefit.

The pragmatic leadership, built on integrity, that has been evidenced in the UAE over the last 50 years is exactly what the world needs now to address the threat that we are all under.

This ambition, and the ability to deliver exceptional performance on an international scale, is demonstrated across numerous investments that have been made by the UAE.

Most significant of these in recent years has been the investment that has created Expo 2020 Dubai, the world’s most sustainable Expo ever.

This project, delivered in record time, was built around four pillars of sustainability, designed to leave a sustainable legacy of infrastructure, whilst significantly increasing the public awareness about sustainability principles and sustainable living.

The ambition did not stop there though, throughout the project there has been a focus on developing solutions that can be showcased at the event, but which are also highly scalable and commercially attractive, to catalyse even more investment into the sector.

Taking a clear direction from the leadership of the UAE, Expo 2020 Dubai has been set up from the outset to provide an experience that will inspire visitors to become part of the solution for a sustainable future.

Catalysing positive action

It is this ambition to Inspire others that is so evident throughout the culture of the UAE. The desire to catalyse positive actions towards really addressing the problems we face with climate change is coursing through every element of the leadership.

It is this positive, collaborative approach to delivering world class improvements to society here in the UAE that gives us such great hope that the opportunity to share this approach with the rest of the COP 28 participants will affect real change.

We also need to recognise the role that the private sector can and should play in developing solutions to the problems we face.

The Futurist Company has taken a cue from the UAE’s commitment on sustainability. We have developed solutions to provide food to areas where the soil/climate/rainfall does not allow it.

We are working on solutions to provide grid scale battery storage solutions for large scale renewables plants. We are supporting the development of large-scale infrastructure to allow the introduction of Electric Vehicles on an industrial scale.

We are confident that under the stewardship of the UAE a meaningful agreement can be achieved at COP 28 that addresses the challenges of climate change, but does so in a way that represents a fairness to all parties.

We only have one planet, and we need to protect it for the generations that follow on from us.

Alanoud Alhashmi is the CEO and Founder of The Futurist Company. Paul Marsh is the CSO and co-founder of the company.