Abu Dhabi climate talks: Eleven countries join forces in call to arms to save the planet

Collective pledge vows to help the most vulnerable and make Paris accord a success

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Milestone talks in Abu Dhabi concluded with a rousing call to arms to tackle climate change.

Eleven countries pledged on Sunday to ensure the success of the 2015 Paris Agreement, cut emissions by 2030 and do even more to stop temperatures rising.

They also vowed to protect the most vulnerable, while ushering in a new energy economy in a critical year for the climate.

"We will work together to ensure the success of the Paris Agreement and will cooperate with our global partners to strengthen climate ambition,"  the group statement said, representing the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the US.

We also resolve to work together and with other countries to help the world's most vulnerable cope with the devastating consequences of climate change

"We also resolve to work together and with other countries to help the world’s most vulnerable cope with the devastating consequences of climate change.

"We are encouraged by the conversations we held, hosted by the UAE, which we believe will usher in a new era of regional cooperation for a prosperous and sustainable future based on ambitious climate policy, investment and innovation."

Climate leaders from across the region attended the Regional Climate Dialogue in the capital.

US climate envoy John Kerry was among those attending as well as the UAE's special envoy for climate change Dr Sultan Al Jaber and the UN's Climate Change Conference, Cop26, President Alok Sharma.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, met Mr Kerry on Sunday, where both sides explored expanding cooperation  in environmental protection and mitigating the economic and ecological impacts of climate change.

Abu Dhabi's event, meanwhile, builds momentum in a vital year in the battle against climate change. US President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit takes place this month and it is followed by the UN's Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

“We are all here because we all believe that accelerating climate action is both necessary and a huge opportunity," said Dr Al Jaber.

"Coming just weeks before the Leaders Summit on Climate in Washington DC, today’s gathering could not be more timely. In fact, this principle has driven the UAE’s expansion in clean tech and sustainable development for the last 15 years. We have discovered that these investments simply make good business sense," he said.

"This view is backed up by market trends and hard facts. Last year, for instance, set a record for newly installed renewable energy capacity at 260 gigawatts. And this was achieved despite the economic headwinds of the Covid-19 pandemic."

Pressing issues affecting the region such as food and water security, combating desertification and environmental conservation also came under the spotlight.

A wide-ranging discussion was held ranging from stepping up renewable energy, the potential of new zero-carbon energy sources and exploring carbon capture technologies.

"We all need to act with urgency to address climate change," said Mr Sharma. "Which is why I welcome the commitment today from our partners across the Middle East, at the UAE Regional Climate Dialogue, to accelerate climate action.

“There are huge investment opportunities in the transition to renewable energy – to grow our economies, create jobs and reduce the risk of climate disaster," he said

“Ahead of Cop26, I urge countries to follow this commitment with net zero targets and furthering ambition in this crucial decade to 2030."

The UAE's first nationally determined contribution after Paris made it the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The UAE’s second includes an emissions reduction of 23.5 per cent compared to business as usual for the year 2030. The enhanced target is expected to translate into an absolute emissions reduction of about 70 million tonnes.