Private sector collaboration key to achieving climate goals, Cop28 official says

Decisions by businesses today will determine where the world's preparations will be by 2030, director general of Cop28 UAE presidency says

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai is a key part of the UAE's green strategy. Photo: Government of Dubai
Powered by automated translation

The private sector is vital for global efforts to put the world on track by 2030, if it is to achieve its net-zero goals by the middle of this century, the director general of the UAE's presidency of Cop28 has said.

Decisions made today by businesses in the private sector will have a telling effect on where the world will stand in terms of its preparedness to achieve its climate goals by 2050, Majid Al Suwaidi told business leaders in Dubai on Thursday.

“But the point is, those decisions need to be made today. The time has come, the moment is here,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.

“If you think about the target, the target is 2030. We need to be on track by 2030.”

The UAE hosts the next UN Cop28 climate summit, starting at the end of November 2023.

The meeting of heads of state, finance and business leaders and members of the civil society will take stock of what has been achieved since the Paris Agreement of 2015 was adopted by most countries.

This aims to limit global warming to less than 2ºC — preferably no more than 1.5ºC — above pre-industrial levels.

Right now, the world is not on track to achieve its goals, Mr Al Suwaidi said. More must be done to deliver the required finances, provide technology to the poorest countries, reduce emissions and transform industries, he said.

“The UAE Cop will be delivering a report card on where we are and that's what makes this a significant milestone after the Paris Climate Agreement,” Mr Al Suwaidi said.

There will be assessments and “very hard conversations about what is it that has gone wrong since Paris”, he said.

“How do we get a sense of urgency that we've been hearing from the global community, from the public, from youth, from all sorts of activists that if we're going to achieve these targets we need to take very dramatic steps in changing the way we do business,” Mr Al Suwaidi added.

The UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, is well-placed to address all pressing issues, bring the private and public sectors on board on policy and finance-related matters and negotiate a consensus to effectively achieve the broader goals, he said.

“The UAE is ready to face this challenge and to help to come up with the solutions the practical, pragmatic, real solutions that will make a difference to this process,” he said, adding that the country has “sustainability in its DNA”.

The UAE is investing Dh600 billion ($163.5 billion) in clean and renewable energy projects over the next three decades as it aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

It is building the world’s largest solar plant in the Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi with a capacity of 2 gigawatts, as well as the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, with a 5-gigawatt capacity.

The country’s clean energy capacity is “on track” to reach 14 gigawatts by 2030 as a result of new initiatives and projects, Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said in October.

The UAE, which is home to the Mena region’s first nuclear power plant and one of the world’s biggest renewable energy company Masdar, is incentivising private sector to make sustainability and circularity core of their business.

“The UAE has made “tremendous strides” with its “ambitious initiatives and projects” that are designed to shape the country’s economy to run on renewable and clean energy, advanced technologies and eco-friendly businesses, Maha Al Gargawi, executive director business advocacy at Dubai Chambers, said.

“As hosts of cop 28, the UAE has an opportunity to strengthen its position and reputation as a leader in climate action,” she said.

“To that end, the government and the private sector need to work together and partnerships between the two become more important than ever.”

Updated: December 15, 2022, 1:30 PM