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UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivers a speech at the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt. Image Credit: Presidential Court

Dubai: UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivered a speech at the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt, emphasising the importance of international cooperation to tackle climate change for the sake of future generations.

Sheikh Mohamed's address came during the opening session of the Leaders' Summit at COP27, in the presence of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt and other world leaders, heads of state, and invited dignitaries.

The UAE President emphasised the need for the international community to collaborate on finding practical climate action solutions, telling the assembled audience they are meeting at a critical time for our planet and our future generations.

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Sheikh Mohamed spoke of the UAE's position as a responsible energy provider, with a realistic view of the present as it invests in the future.

He reiterated the UAE's support for efforts to accelerate the global energy transition and enable sustainable economic growth, highlighting recent initiatives such as the Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy agreement signed between the UAE and the US.

Sheikh Mohamed concluded by thanking Egypt for its efforts in hosting COP27 and extended an open invitation for everyone to continue collaboration towards finding and implementing practical solutions when the UAE hosts COP28 in 2023 at Expo City Dubai, emphasising the importance of ongoing cooperation and communication within the international community.

UAE: Hosts for 2023
UAE to host COP28 in 2023 at Expo City Dubai
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UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan , Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attend the leaders summit during the COP27 climate conference, in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 7, 2022. Image Credit: AFP

Full text of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed's speech:

"Your Excellency, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi,

Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies,

COP27 President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to begin by thanking the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for organising and hosting the 27th edition of the Conference of the Parties (COP27).

I applaud this year's conference for its focus on implementation, which allows Egypt and Africa to set an example in terms of climate priorities.

We meet here today at a critical time for our planet and our future generations. Our world is faced with complex and unprecedented challenges, most notable among them being climate change, which now affects the world's stability and security - including food security.

We have only one planet, ladies and gentlemen, and with that in mind, it is imperative that we partner and work together in a spirit of determination and optimism to address this common challenge through climate action. We look at this as an opportunity for innovation, and a chance to find new solutions and diversify our economy.

Esteemed audience,

The UAE is a responsible energy supplier, and we will continue to play that role as we pursue a transition to alternate resources and technologies.

By virtue of our geology, the oil and gas we have in the UAE is among the least carbon-intensive in the world. Nevertheless, we will continue to work towards reducing carbon emissions in the sector.

This is not a new role for us; our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, directed us to stop all gas flaring decades ago, laying the foundations of sustainability in the UAE and guaranteeing the protection of both the environment and our natural resources.

As a result, we have spent decades working towards diversifying our economy, and building our capabilities in the renewable and clean energy sector, in an effort to drive sustainable economic and social growth for the benefit of the UAE and the wider world, and for current and future generations.

To that end, the UAE became the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement, committing to its requirement to cut carbon emissions across all areas of our economy. The Emirates then went on to announce the UAE Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

On the same note, a recent partnership agreement we have signed with the United States will help accelerate this transition towards clean and renewable energy sources. The agreement aims to raise USD100 million in investments to generate 100 gigawatts of renewable energy in the UAE, the US, and developing economies around the world by 2035.

These initiatives, projects, and protocols create new sectors and new jobs that require new kinds of knowledge and skills. They pave the way for us to accomplish our common goal and prevent the Earth's temperature from rising more than 1.5˚C.

Esteemed guests,

The UAE remains committed to its collaborative approach, building bridges for cooperation and communication with the international community. We believe in the importance of consistency and perseverance in climate action.

As we prepare to host COP28 in 2023 at Expo City Dubai, we increasingly focus on supporting the implementation of recommendations from previous conferences, and we are working to complete the first global stocktake of emission pledges under the Paris Agreement. Moving forward, we will support efforts to organise a global dialogue to expedite progress in implementing the agreement by 2030.

We strive to make it as inclusive and diverse as possible, ensuring that women are well represented, while working to engage youth from around the world, channelling their energy and passion towards finding sustainable solutions.

We want to bring everyone on the same page to collectively drive an organised and effective transition in the global energy sector with a realistic, pragmatic, ambitious, and economically feasible plan.

And it is our pleasure to extend an open invitation for everyone to collaborate towards finding and implementing practical solutions, which create new opportunities for sustainable, long-term economic growth for human beings everywhere.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to, once again, thank our partners in Egypt, and to wish all of us success in our common efforts. The dangers of climate change affect everyone without exception, and the future of our children and grandchildren depends on the measures we take today.

Thank you."

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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and United Nations's climate change executive secretary Simon Stiell shake hands as participating world leaders stand for a commemorative group picture ahead of their summit at the COP27 climate conference, in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 7, 2022. The two-week UN climate summit was opened on Monday, with a call by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi for world leaders to show flexibility in their action to save the planet from rising temperatures. Sheikh Mohamed highlighted UAE’s ongoing efforts to reduce gas emissions in the energy sector. Image Credit: AFP

World leaders get together in Egypt

World leaders and experts from around the globe have descended on the Egyptian resort of Sharm Al Sheikh for the annual United Nations climate change summit. This year marks the 27th gathering of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — or COP27 for short.

More than 100 world leaders are expected to speak over the next few days to try deal with a worsening problem that scientists’ call Earth’s biggest challenge.

Nearly 50 heads of states or governments started to take the stage Monday in the first day of high-level talks at this year’s COP27 with more to come in the following days.

Much of the focus will be on national leaders telling their stories of being devastated by climate disasters, culminating Tuesday with a speech by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, whose country’s summer floods caused at least $40 billion in damage and displaced millions of people.

“The planet has become a world of suffering ... is it not high time to put an end to all this suffering,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the summit host, told his fellow leaders. “Climate change will never stop without our intervention ... Our time here is limited and we must use every second that we have.”

A fiery United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, addressed the conference, calling for a new pact between rich and poor countries to work closer together, with financial help and phasing out of coal in rich nations by 2030 and elsewhere by 2040.

He called on the United States and China — the two biggest producers of climate-changing emissions _ to especially work together on climate, something they used to do until the last few years.

2.5

degree Celsius (4.5 degree Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures by the end of the century

French President Emmanuel Macron said the US, China and other non-European rich nations must pay “their share” to help poorer nations deal with climate change.

French President Emmanuel Macron
At COP27 French President Emmanuel Macron urged the United States, China and other non-European rich nations to pay their fair share to help poorer countries deal with climate change Image Credit: AP

Countries are set to discuss their plans for cutting methane emissions from oil wells, agriculture and waste, a year after a global pledge to slash the greenhouse gas 30% by 2030.

The meeting is one of more than 20 methane-related events being held at COP27, as focus intensifies on a gas that’s much more potent but more short-lived in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. That means reductions can quickly yield results and help limit global temperature increases to the 1.5C target.

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An artwork at the Green Zone during the COP27 climate summit at the Sharm Al Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt's Red Sea resort of the same name, on November 7, 2022 Image Credit: AFP

This gathering in Egypt now marks the last best chance to meet that 1.5 degree ceiling. Beyond that, rising temperatures will have severe consequences that will reduce ice caps, raise sea levels, forever change the patterns of currents in our oceans, alter our natural environment and bring about devastating impacts on our flora and fauna, as well as putting even more life at risk from severe and unpredictable weather events.

Paris Accord
Under a 2015 Paris accord, countries agreed to keep global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels and, more ambitiously if possible, to stop at 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit)

COP — A quick primer

Why is COP important?

The high-profile summit is an opportunity to get world leaders in the same space to discuss protecting the planet. Themes include biodiversity, water, gender and transport.

Climate change has risen up political agendas as floods, drought, wildfires and extremes weather hurt millions of people, homes, and economies across the globe.

What are the Conferences of the Parties (COPs)?

At a landmark environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, three conventions were set up: one on biodiversity, one on desertification and one on climate change. Each of these conventions has a yearly Conference of the Parties, or COP, which sees signatory countries meet to assess progress and figure out how to move forward collectively.

COP27 is the 27th on climate change; the first one was held in Berlin 1995. The upcoming gathering will see 197 countries represented in Egypt, all of whom have signed the Paris Agreement.

Read more on COP27

How are climate deals negotiated?

Work to reach agreements takes place mainly among negotiators, including government ministers, with observer organisations attending to bring transparency to the talks.

Central to this is a process where countries decide how much to reduce their national greenhouse gas emissions each year and submit these in the form of nationally determined contributions, which they have agreed to revise every five years.

What is expected to happen at COP27?

It is expected that the role of climate finance, adaptation ambition, and implementation will be central to discussions, along with tackling what negotiators call “loss and damage”.

Loss and damage refer to the consequences of the climate crisis that go beyond what people can adapt to or when options exist, but a community does not have the resources to use them. Examples include damage from cyclones or drought, or permanent damage from rising sea levels or the drying up of rivers.

Why is the Sharm Al Sheikh meeting significant?

At Sharm Al Sheikh, governments are expected to evaluate progress on climate pledges centred around cutting emissions, phasing out fossil fuels, ramping up renewable energy use and ensuring that richer countries support poorer nations bearing the brunt of climate change.

In a significant step at last year’s COP, world leaders acknowledged that progress had been slow, agreeing to “revisit and strengthen” their national climate targets if possible. But as they prepare to reconvene, almost none of the globe’s biggest emitters have made stronger commitments.

(Source: UN and input from agencies)