The UAE and France will work in partnership to maximise the social and economic benefits of climate action to help drive a green economy and deliver the "new industries, skills and jobs of the future".
The Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change and the French Government signed an agreement to bolster their co-operation on pressing environmental challenges, as part of President Sheikh Mohamed's state visit to Paris.
The agreement seeks to "raise ambition" for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and support the UAE's hosting of Cop28 next year, state news agency Wam reported.
The UAE in 2016 became the first Middle East nation to sign the Paris Agreement, which calls for global warming to be limited to well below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
The UAE-France agreement was signed in the French capital by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Agnes Pannier-Runacher, French Minister of Energy Transition.
It was observed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Catherine Colonna, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Delivering on promises
"As the host country of Cop28 in 2023, the UAE is keen to work closely with France to convert promises into pragmatic outcomes that will benefit all countries and communities," said Dr Al Jaber.
The climate change envoy said the two allies recognised that "climate action can be a key driver to building a new, low-emissions economic growth model underpinned by sustainability, creating new industries, skills and jobs needed for the future".
"This partnership will advance progressive climate action and raise ambition for the swift implementation of the Paris Agreement," Dr Al Jaber said.
"More than 15 years ago, the UAE placed climate action at the centre of its economic growth and diversification strategy, while contributing innovative and practical solutions to one of the world’s greatest challenges.
"We have demonstrated this commitment to climate action as the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement and the first to commit to an economywide emissions reduction."
The UAE has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050 in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement.
Under the agreement, the countries will co-operate on preparations for Cop28, as well as the promotion of energy efficiency and the rapid deployment of renewable energy power generation.
They will collaborate on sustainable agriculture, the agrifood industry and food and water security, as well as for the decarbonisation of heavy industry and on scientific research.
Realistic goals key to success
The UAE's environment minister told The National that climate change goals must be sustainable if governments are to stick to them.
Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said there must be a realism about the transition to clean energy.
“We need to be responsible," she said. "We need to decarbonise as much as possible, which is what the UAE is doing.
“And we need to use that energy to build the future energy systems for tomorrow.”
At Cop26 in Glasgow last autumn, the UAE committed to its net-zero plan, and to investing in other nations to aid them in their transition.
“We will be investing another $50 billion in the next decade, knowing that we have already invested about $14bn in the country on clean and renewables and about $17bn in over 70 countries.”