Dr Sultan Al Jaber says Paris Agreement goal of 1.5°C is ‘non-negotiable’

UAE Cop28 President-designate says India’s sustainable development is critical for the whole world

Dr Sultan Al Jaber at the World Sustainable Development Summit hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi. Photo: TERI
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Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Cop28 President-designate and the UAE's special envoy on climate change, says the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels is “non-negotiable”

Dr Al Jaber, speaking at the World Sustainable Development Summit in New Delhi on Wednesday, called for a “paradigm shift” in the global approach to climate change mitigation, adaptation, finance, and loss and damage.

“It is also clear that business as usual won’t get us there,” he said.

Dr Al Jaber, who is also the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said India’s sustainable development would be “critical” for the whole world.

India, which aims to become net-zero by 2070, plans to produce 500 gigawatts of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.

The country, Asia's third-largest economy, also plans to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030, with the potential to reach 10 million tonnes as export markets grow.

“India’s goal of adding 500 gigawatts of clean energy in the next seven years is a powerful statement of intent. And, as one of the largest investors in renewables, the UAE will explore all opportunities for partnership with India to contribute to its high growth, low carbon pathway,” said Dr Al Jaber.

Dr Al Jaber held meetings with several officials in India to discuss action on climate change.

The UAE’s climate envoy also emphasised the need to mobilise resources and build partnerships.

“On mitigation, we need to rapidly build the clean energy systems of tomorrow, while making the energy systems of today much cleaner,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“We must triple renewable energy capacity, double hydrogen production, expand nuclear power, improve battery storage, scale up carbon capture and enhance efficiency.

“We need to accelerate an energy transition that leaves no one behind, particularly the 800 million people across the Global South who have no access today.”

Investment in renewable energy needs to double to more than $4 trillion by the end of the decade to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050, the International Energy Agency said in its World Energy Outlook last year.

The IEA’s stated policies scenario (Steps), which is based on the latest policy settings worldwide, expects clean energy investment to rise to slightly more than $2 trillion by 2030.

“We need to transform food systems that account for one third of global emissions, embrace agri-tech to feed a growing planet on a limited carbon budget, and enhance water use so that everyone on this planet has access to safe drinking water,” said Dr Al Jaber.

He stressed the importance of “accessible and affordable” capital in ensuring climate progress and said “trillions, not billions” would be required.

“A key enabler will be the reform of the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“We must mobilise much more concessional finance to unlock more private sector capital and target investments where they are needed most. As such, scaling and accelerating climate finance will be one of the key goals of the Cop28 presidency, and we will rally all relevant parties in an effort to get it done.”

The UAE is set to host the world forum for climate discussion at Expo City in November this year.

The Arab country, which is Opec’s third-largest oil producer, is pursuing goals to reduce its carbon footprint and aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Emirates plans to invest $160 billion in clean and renewable energy sources over the next three decades.

It is building the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai with a five-gigawatt capacity.

Abu Dhabi, which is developing a two-gigawatt solar plant in its Al Dhafra region, has set a target of 5.6 gigawatts of solar PV capacity by 2026.

“The UAE takes on the role of Cop28 with humility, a deep sense of responsibility and great sense of urgency,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“Let’s ensure that progress is truly inclusive, that no one is left behind. Let’s keep 1.5 alive, while putting an end to energy and water poverty. Let’s unite around climate action that carries humanity forward. And let’s prove that you can be pro-climate and pro-growth at the same time.”

Updated: February 22, 2023, 11:31 AM