UAE Cabinet adopts wide-ranging climate-change plan

A national plan for climate change has been adopted by the UAE Cabinet.

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The Cabinet has adopted a national plan for climate change to streamline efforts across the country and propel its green economy, proving that an oil-producing country can be a leader in addressing climate change.​

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday tweeted that Cabinet had approved the National Climate Change Plan 2050 to “unite efforts and ensure the country’s contribution in tackling this global challenge”.

The plan, to be overseen by the UAE Council on Climate Change and the Environment, will build on policies for green growth and development.

“It reflects the mandates of the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030, and factors in the nation’s unique circumstances, development priorities, resource endowments and capacity,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Targets and plans of action will now fall under one masterplan.

The National Climate Change Plan will coordinate efforts to manage greenhouse emissions, minimise risk and increase ability to adapt to the climate, while sustaining economic growth.

It will also bridge regulatory gaps and provide skills to young talent through partnerships between academia and industry.

Existing programmes will fall under the country’s Green Agenda, which highlights progress. Another section will document ways for supporting an environmentally friendly society.

Dr Al Zeyoudi said the next step was to synchronise these efforts to help monitor and manage carbon-dioxide emissions, in which the private sector would play a major role.

“Businesses can be a source of innovation in addressing sustainability challenges and they have huge potential to provide the necessary resources to advance the diversification agenda,” he said.

Dr Al Zeyoudi said it was in the companies’ best interests to implement initiatives such as using less water or recycling.

The Government wants to provide an “enabling environment for the private sector’s climate actions through combining regulations and incentives”, he said.

Other efforts to encourage participation in climate change action have included the Dh100 billion Green Fund, considered the first of its kind in the region. It will make it easier for people and small businesses to get low-interest loans for green projects.

The International Renewable Energy Agency said with strong policy commitments, the UAE had solidified its position as a “regional first-mover in advancing the renewable energy agenda”.

“And now with the endorsement of its National Climate Change Plan, the UAE is sending a signal to the world that if renewable energy can work in an oil-rich country, it can work anywhere,” said Adnan Amin, the agency’s director general.