UAE and US in ambitious pledge to jointly tackle climate change

The countries agree on decisive action in crucial year for the planet

The UAE and the US have jointly vowed to tackle climate change, help the most vulnerable adapt and make new investments in financing decarbonisation.

Their ambitious pledge on Monday came a day after major climate talks were held in Abu Dhabi and attended by US climate envoy John Kerry.

After the Regional Climate Dialogue, 11 countries came together to call for greater action to halt rising temperatures and implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Now the UAE and US have signalled their intent to ramp up joint efforts even more to protect the planet in a crucial year for the environment ahead of the UN's Climate Change Conference, or Cop26, in November in Glasgow, Scotland.

We each intend to take steps to decarbonise our economies

"We will work to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote the success of Cop26 in Glasgow," the countries said.

"We each intend to take steps to decarbonise our economies ... We will also co-operate closely to make new investments in financing decarbonisation across both the Middle East and North Africa region and the wider international community and help the most vulnerable adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.

"In this regard, we are encouraged by new regional initiatives, such as the 'green Middle East initiative' by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

The two countries said their focus would include renewable energy, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions, and low-carbon urban design – exemplified by model cities like Masdar City, and the world's largest single-site solar facility in Noor in Abu Dhabi.

"We take note of opportunities in the UAE, such as the world’s lowest solar power costs, and significant carbon capture investments," it said.

Following the Regional Climate Dialogue in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, momentum is now building in a vital year for the planet.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry visits the Jubail Mangrove Park, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates April 3, 2021. Courtesy Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change

US President Joe Biden's virtual climate summit takes place this month, followed by Cop26 in November.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE's special envoy for climate change, said both countries affirmed that acting on the climate can be an engine for economic growth and sustainable development.

"Building on the legacy and experience of the UAE, which has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to sustainable development and today operates three of the world’s largest solar facilities, we will focus, together with the US, on joint efforts on renewable energy, hydrogen, industrial decarbonisation, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions and low-carbon urban design," said Dr Al Jaber.

“The UAE is rich in opportunities with the world’s lowest solar power costs, and significant carbon capture investments.

"We look forward to sharing our experience with the international community to turn climate action into economic opportunity.”

Climate leaders had attended the Regional Climate Dialogue in the capital.

Mr Kerry, Dr Al Jaber and Cop26 president Alok Sharma all attended, along with ministers and officials from across the region.

"We all need to act with urgency to address climate change," said Mr Sharma.

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

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