Cop26: how has the UAE been involved so far?

World's leaders are meeting in Glasgow to discuss ways to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels

World leaders, business chiefs and activists are heading into the second week at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

Participants are being asked to answer the call to action on climate change and agree to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in an attempt to cap global temperature rises.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, is leading the UAE's delegation at the climate talks.

Declarations came thick and fast in the first week, including the Emirates taking one step closer to hosting the event in 2023 after the Asia-Pacific Group of nations endorsed its bid.

But how has the UAE been involved in the conference so far?

The National explains.

Friday, November 5

The UAE backed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

The Cop26 commitment to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 aims to advance sustainable development and promote inclusive rural transformation.

While the UAE does not have traditional forests, it has a wealth of mangroves. Research has shown mangroves aged 10 years or older absorb over six times more carbon than any terrestrial tree.

They also protect the coastline and provide breeding grounds as well as shelter for young fish.

Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, called it a “natural step” for the country because of the nation’s rich and extensive mangrove forests.

"This is our type of forest and these act as carbon sinks. It is nature's treasure," she said.

The UAE already has about 60 million mangroves, and aims to increase the number by 50 per cent, Ms Al Mheiri announced.

She said the UAE’s prominent role in climate change initiatives at Cop26 shows the country is ready to "ride the crest of a wave" of global progress.

The conference also heard about the UAE’s efforts to improve global water security through cloud-seeding technology.

National Centre of Meteorology director Dr Abdulla Al Mandous and Alya Al Mazroui, director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, outlined the country’s rain enhancement technology and research programme.

Dr Al Mandous said the UAE is committed to finding innovative and viable solutions to address global water shortages.

“There is an urgent need for action to reduce the adverse effects of climate change on countries and governments,” he said.

Thursday, November 4

Another busy day.

The UAE announced plans to become an important player in the hydrogen fuel industry.

Hydrogen produces only water when it is used as fuel, making it a clean energy source. It can be generated from fossil fuels or renewables.

Ms Al Mheiri announced the launch of a UAE Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap.

The country commissioned its first green hydrogen plant at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park earlier this year.

Green hydrogen refers to fuel produced from renewable sources. It is known as blue hydrogen when it comes from fossil fuels.

Speaking at the sidelines of the event, the UAE also announced that construction of Unit 3 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant was complete. It will be up and running in 2023.

Talking to The National, Claire O'Neill, the former British president of the 26th meeting, said she hoped for a new cycle leading to Cop28 in the UAE in 2023.

Wednesday, November 3

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, met US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on the sidelines of the summit.

The pair discussed the longstanding historic relations between the UAE and the US, as well as regional and global issues of mutual concern.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the UAE's Special Envoy for Climate Change, met US climate envoy John Kerry, and Israel's energy minister, Karine Elharrar.

The UAE called for an inclusive approach to unlock the economic opportunities in climate action and said it would support progress towards practical, commercial and scalable solutions if announced as hosts of Cop28 in 2023.

Tuesday, November 2

The UAE signed the Global Methane Pledge, along with more than 100 other countries. It aims to reduce global emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that is highly potent in warming the planet.

The countries are promising to reduce their methane output by at least 30 per cent this decade.

Dr Al Jaber received Aziz Akhannouch, Prime Minister of Morocco, at the UAE pavilion.

And the UAE's goal to host Cop28 in 2023 was given a boost when the Asia-Pacific Group of nations endorsed its bid, joining the Arab League and the Gulf Co-operation Council, which had already lent their support.

Monday, November 1

Dr Al Jaber met several government officials and business people to discuss strategic partnerships.

Dr Al Jaber and Ms Al Mheiri met Dr Yasmine Fouad, Egypt's Minister of Environment.

Further meetings took place between Dr Al Jaber and Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th UN General Assembly and Foreign Minister of the Maldives, among others.

The UAE joined more than 100 world leaders in signing a pledge to reverse deforestation in the summit’s first major announcement.

The countries are collectively responsible for more than 85 per cent of the world's forests.

They plan to use £19 billion ($25.9 billion) in public and private finance to restore degraded land, tackle bushfires, protect indigenous people and focus on key areas such as the Congo Basin.

Greta Thunberg at Cop26 - in pictures

Updated: November 9th 2021, 5:18 AM
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