Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to put spotlight on pioneering technology to combat climate change

A series of events under the banner of Sustainability Week will run from January 11 to 18 in capital

Emissions rise from towers of the Sasol Ltd. Secunda coal-to-liquids plant in Mpumalanga, South Africa, on Monday, Dec. 23, 2019. The level of sulfur dioxide emissions in the Kriel area in Mpumalanga province only lags the Norilsk Nickel metal complex in the Russian town of Norilsk, the environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement, citing 2018 data from NASA satellites. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
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The latest technologies that can be used in the fight against climate change will be on show in Abu Dhabi from Saturday.

As bushfires rage in Australia, killing hundreds of millions of animals and polluting the air more than 1,500 kilometres away in New Zealand, the need for technologies that can reverse the damage caused by global warming and climate change have never been more critical.

On Monday, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week would bring together policymakers, industry specialists, technology pioneers and youths to share knowledge and solutions to “benefit the human race”.

There will be discussions between experts on waste management operations and how technology can be utilised to reduce the amount of C02 emissions from waste

He said the "major highlight" of this year's event was the four-day World Future Energy Summit – where ground-breaking thinking in “energy, energy efficiency, water, solar, waste and smart cities” would be on display.

“There will be discussions between experts on waste management operations and how technology can be utilised to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions from waste,” he said.

“Waste CO2 to be turned into ingredients for fuel, plastics and even food. Let’s harness that for the better.”

To align more closely with the UN sustainable development goals and the UAE Vision 2021, ADSW 2020 will feature six key pillars: energy and climate change, the future of mobility, water and food, biotechnology in health, and space and technology for good.

Several forums and workshops will take place throughout the week, including the Future Sustainability Summit and Zayed Sustainability Prize, which centre on major social, economic and environmental trends “shaping the world’s sustainable development”.

With global droughts becoming more commonplace due to climate change, Dr Al Zeyoudi told The National the UAE's recent cloud-seeding activities had a "positive affect" on the country's agricultural industry.

The plan is to carry out more seeding operations this year.

“Cloud seeding efforts led to the highest rainfall in the UAE in 2019,” he said.

“Most dams in the country are now full with water and farmers are happy with the increased rainfall as it is positively impacting their crop yield.”

Awaidha Ali Al Marar, chairman of the Department of Energy in Abu Dhabi, said several “new policies and strategies” focused on sustainability would be announced next week too.

“Sustainable living is one of the most important lifestyle changes the world needs to make,” he said.

“The future generations need to be better than us at sustaining our planet so it is imperative we concentrate on building a new generation of leaders to tackle this issue."

As such, community participation has been stepped up for this year’s event.

For the first time, participants will be able to take an "Eco-Bus" tour of the Emirates, which will educate local communities about sustainability and climate change.

Riders will take part in several awareness workshops, including how to increase recycling efforts and reduce electricity and water consumption.

To kick-start the “energy transformation dialogue” at ADSW, Francesco La Camera, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said the organisation’s 10th assembly would start one day early, on January 10.

One ministerial round-table and two plenary sessions will be held during the three-day assembly to discuss decarbonisation and investment in renewable energy from sunlight, wind, rain and heat sources.

“The climate change threat has intensified and it is important that our discussions are properly disseminated on a global scale,” Mr La Camera said.

“We must make this new decade the decade of action. Tremendous efforts have been made towards renewable energy progress over the past few years.

“Renewable energy is essential to environmental policies, it is the only way forward for real change.”

In 2019, ADSW hosted about 38,000 people from 170 countries with more than $11 billion (Dh40.4bn) worth of projects announced during the week.

This year, the event is expected to welcome more than 35,000 participants from across the globe, including 10 prime ministers and 150 ministers.