Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week ends

, ,
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week ends

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week ends

(Abu Dhabi) – Delegates used the final day of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to recognise the UAE’s leading role in a world moving to renewable energy after the success of last year’s Paris Climate Conference.
Nations gathered at COP 21 and agreed to work towards limiting global warming to 2°C by reducing greenhouse gas emissions before 2050.
In that attempt, countries submitted what is called their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which define each country’s aims for the next five years, before the first review of COP21’s outcomes.
The UAE’s NDC’s were considered some of the more ambitious ones. Wael Hmaidan, international director of the Climate Action Network, said that such goals showed the UAE’s commitment towards a future of renewable energy.
“The most relevant issue for this region – and all oil exporting countries – is the vision for the long term,” he said.
For growth, he said, and to meet the COP21 targets, the world needed to fully decarbonise by 2050, a feat he said the UAE could achieve.
“The best technology to achieve that is renewable energy providing 100 per cent of our electricity and mobility demands by 2050. This is something the region needs to look at and take care of,” he said.
The Gulf region can look at the situation as either a threat or an opportunity while many countries are preparing for a transition to clean power, he said.
The international community, according to leaders at COP21, should be able to phase out oil and gas usage for electricity in the next 40 years, giving oil producers a window to prepare for change.
Tina Latif, an energy and ­climate-change adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Paris conference and the agreements that followed were just the start.
“There’s a lot of work to be done from now until 2020 to prepare ourselves for the transition,” she said.
The role of the ministry, she added, was to send signals not only to businesses but also to the public over the next 30 years to prepare them for change.
“I think this is one of the things that the UAE excels at, and it’s something that we have done very well over the years.
“Ten years ago, the UAE was one of the first countries in the region to set renewable energy targets and that was during a time when there were a lot of questions about that topic,” she said.
Ms Latif said the UAE had a head start and had embraced sustainable development as a key pillar of policy well before world leaders met in Paris.
Tanzeed Alam, climate and energy director of Emirates Wildlife Society-WWF, said the UAE had realised the need for change and decided to take the lead.
“The threats of climate change are very real for the UAE, and we think it demands urgent action. I think Paris provided a very good opportunity for the UAE to lead by example,” he said.
The economic implications of the switch to sustainables was what threatened the process most.
“This conference is a place of announcements, and our job is to make sure that those announcements are translated into action,” he said.
(Courtesy WAM)