The session, held as part of the country's National Dialogue for Climate Ambition, highlighted the gaps in climate finance for decarbonisation of the economy and urged everyone — particularly in private-sector financial entities — to increase green finance to support the UAE’s vision to build a sustainable economy, the ministry said.
The dialogue, an initiative led by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, aims to promote climate action through stronger collaboration, including with the private sector.
It is a series of industry-specific assemblies in various sectors aimed at raising climate ambitions in the nation’s journey to net zero, which means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
This session, on Monday, was attended by Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and brought together 100 participants from the banking, insurance, investment, financial services and consulting sectors and various ministries.
Coming only months before the UAE hosts the UN climate summit Cop28, Ms Al Mheiri emphasised the importance of collaboration to raise ambition for climate finance, which is important to implement the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement. Climate finance is crucial in funding renewable power such as wind or solar.
Agreed in 2015 and signed by about 200 countries, the Paris climate accord aims to limit global temperature rises to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, and to keep them “well below” 2.0ºC. How countries are implementing the accord and what more needs to be done will be discussed at Cop28 in what is known as a "global stocktake".
World must unite for climate fight
"One of the key elements of UAE’s vision for Cop28 is to raise ambition and collective action towards mitigation [cutting emissions], adaptation [coping with climate change], loss and damage and climate finance," said Ms Al Mheiri.
"The UAE believes scaling up climate finance is crucial for system-wide transformation, and this can be achieved through strong partnerships that will support the nation's journey to net zero by 2050."
She added: "The participation of all sectors is essential in tackling the challenge, with perceived risks in green investments, such as a relatively long payback period, hindering green finance investments. These perceptions must be addressed, with the UAE demonstrating to the world that investing in green projects is an investment in our future. Together, we must create new financial products and services that promote sustainability and resilience and work towards a strategy that aligns with the interests of all stakeholders."
Ms Al Mheiri pointed to the UAE's successes in clean energy projects such as Masdar City and Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Park. She noted the significant green finance behind Etihad Rail, which will transform the UAE's transportation sector and reduce the UAE’s CO2 emissions by up to 2.2 million tonnes annually.
"With environmental, social and governance (ESG) emerging as the cornerstone for responsible business, government entities and the private sector, including the finance industry, can rally their efforts to raise ambition for climate finance," said Ms Al Mheiri.
"Furthermore, investors and financial markets increasingly demand an effective ESG plan and a path to net-zero carbon emissions as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.”
Panellists at Monday's event included Alexandros Severis and Girish Narula from Intercontinental Exchange, Shargiil Bashir from First Abu Dhabi Bank, Zoe Knight from HSBC, Faisal Al Shimmari from Mashreq Intercontinental Exchange, and Oliver Phillips from Standard Chartered Bank.
Cop28 takes place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.