UAE and World Economic Forum unite to address climate change

Drive will be to find public and private sector solutions to environmental issues

World Economic Forum President Borge Brende on the closing day of the 53rd annual WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday. EPA
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The World Economic Forum will join forces with the UAE to drive efforts to tackle climate change as the country gears up to host the Cop28 environment summit later this year.

Borge Brende, President of the WEF, announced that the organisation will work with the UAE Cop28 presidency "to accelerate public-private solutions for climate and nature" ahead of the climate conference in November.

Mr Brende, a former Norwegian minister of foreign affairs, said "multi-stakeholder action has never been more needed" while announcing the partnership on social media on Friday.

The UAE is currently taking part in the WEF annual meeting, widely referred to as Davos because of its staging in the Swiss mountain resort.

The Emirates has taken significant strides to safeguard the environment in recent years.

The UAE in October 2021 set out an ambitious strategic initiative to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050.

The net-zero plan will involve Dh600 billion ($163.37 billion) being invested in clean and renewable energy sources in the next three decades.

The Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, in Al Dhafra region of Abu Dhabi, is a key pillar of this long-term vision.

Once fully operational, it will provide 25 per cent of the UAE's electricity needs without carbon emissions.

In November, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, revealed plans to make public transport in the emirate emission-free by 2050.

An ambitious roadmap for the future will focus on eliminating eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, making savings equal to Dh3 billion.

The eco-friendly initiative is in line with Dubai's push to become a global model for sustainability and green transformation.

On Friday, President Sheikh Mohamed declared 2023 to be the “Year of Sustainability”.

The UAE leader said that by hosting Cop28, the nation will keep supporting innovation in the sustainability sector.

“2023 is the Year of Sustainability in the UAE,” Sheikh Mohamed wrote on social media. “Effective climate action requires a shared vision and collective will.

“As host of Cop28, we are committed to fulfilling our role as a global convener and will continue to support action and innovation in the field of sustainability.”

The message comes a day after the end of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which brought together heads of state, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, senior policymakers and young people to discuss sustainability initiatives and climate action around the world.

The week of events set the stage for this year’s Cop28 climate conference, which aims to bring about decisive action to create a net-zero future.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of Cop28, spoke last week of the urgent need for the world to take action to meet net-zero goals.

"Over the last 15 years, the UAE has invested a total of $50 billion in renewable energy and clean tech globally, and plans to invest another $50 billion in the years ahead," he said during the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum.

"Let’s create a paradigm shift for tangible progress. And let’s remember that reaching net-zero emissions will deliver the biggest market transformation with the greatest economic and human promise since the first Industrial Revolution.”

Updated: January 20, 2023, 2:09 PM
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