Cop28 President-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber on Sunday urged industry leaders to come together to help accelerate the crucial clean energy transition – warning they must do more to help protect the planet.
Dr Al Jaber hosted representatives of the oil and gas, cement, steel, aluminium and heavy transport sectors and emphasised the need for urgent action.
The UAE special envoy on climate change, who also serves as Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc, was joined for high-level talks in Abu Dhabi by US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry as calls were made for greater collaboration to help achieve environmental goals.
At the event – the latest stop on the road to Cop28 – efforts to accelerate global decarbonisation were at the top of the agenda.
Prominent figures from the energy and hard-to-abate sectors took part in the discussions, which were moderated by Dr Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of S&P Global and a respected authority on energy, economy and international politics.
“Hard-to-abate sectors” refers to transport, cement, steel, aluminium and other heavy industries that face greater financial and practical challenges in adopting greener operating practices.
“The energy transition is under way – but decarbonisation will be faster if we all work together,” Dr Al Jaber said during the event, which was headlined Cop28 Changemakers’ Majlis: Fast-Tracking the Energy Transition.
The event was also attended by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council
“Cross-sector collaboration will be indispensable,” said the Cop28 head.
The switch from traditional fossil fuels to cleaner energy is central to the international mission to limit global warming, reduce emissions and carbon footprints to protect the planet for future generations.
Mr Kerry underlined the importance of eliminating methane pollution from the energy sector by the end of the decade.
Dr Al Jaber reaffirmed his view that the world was “not on track” in its mission to limit global temperatures to no higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels
“We need to deliver a 43 per cent emission reduction by 2030. I believe we can only keep 1.5 within reach if we are willing to collaborate,” he said.
World is waiting for climate action
He added that the production of oil and gas, cement, steel and aluminium accounts for about a quarter of all global carbon emissions.
He said these sectors “can collaborate to accelerate decarbonisation by working on infrastructure, technology, policy and finance together”.
“The world is watching and waiting for real, actionable progress across all sectors – and the energy and hard-to-abate industries have a critical role to play.
“We can find ways of commercialising hydrogen, increasing the efficiency of the electrical grid, speeding the elimination of methane, and increasing the availability of biofuels,” Dr Al Jaber said.
He concluded by calling on the energy industry to play a more active role in the energy transition.
“For years, the energy industry has been without a seat at the climate change table,” he told delegates.
“But you can’t just ask for it. You need to earn it. And candidly, I don’t think the industry has yet done enough to earn that seat.”
Countdown to Cop28
The UAE has said it will be guided by a “deep sense of urgency” to hold the world to its promise of limiting global temperatures to no higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, when it hosts UN climate talks in November.
Dr Al Jaber told the Climate Future Week conference in Dubai on Saturday that breaching the crucial 1.5°C threshold would have far-reaching repercussions.
“We have decided that our comprehensive and holistic plan for Cop28 is to be centred around one thing, and that is the North Star,” he said, referring to the star used by humans for navigation since ancient times.
“What is our North Star at Cop28? It is keeping 1.5°C within reach,” Dr Al Jaber added, describing it as a call to action for the international community.
The Cop28 climate conference will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.