The UAE has launched a bid to bring a major global climate summit to Abu Dhabi.
The UN Climate Change Conference (Cop28) would be hosted in the Emirati capital in November 2023, if successful.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, announced the bid on Sunday.
“The climate challenge is daunting, but it is also matched by enormous opportunity to drive economic growth and job creation,” he said.
“As a country that sits at the heart of the hydrocarbon industry and has made significant investments in energy diversification domestically and around the globe, we have seen first-hand that there is now an unprecedented business case for the highest level of climate ambition – especially when it advances gender equality and empowers youth.”
“Cop28 will represent a pivotal moment to capitalise on this opportunity, and our vision is to work with all countries to realise their net economic benefits from accelerated action.”
Most recently, the UAE and US launched a joint plan to tackle food insecurity, weeks after hosting US climate envoy John Kerry in Abu Dhabi for the Regional Dialogue for Climate Action.
Aim for Climate seeks innovation in agriculture at a time when climate change threatens the stability of food production around the world.
If the bid is successful, it would bring thousands of decision-makers and delegates to the Emirati capital.
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This year’s UN Climate Summit Cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland, is estimated to host 30,000 attendees, even with the impact of the pandemic, with future summits potentially larger.
State news agency Wam said that, as the permanent host country for the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) and the first in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement, the UAE has demonstrated a proven track record in climate action and co-operation that makes it an ideal convener for Cop28.
The UAE has established itself as a natural host for high-level large format international events.
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is the world’s largest annual sustainability event, with more than 45,000 delegates from 170 countries, and the UAE has hosted preparatory meetings for UN climate summits in 2014 and 2019.
Also, the coming Dubai Expo – focused on the Sustainable Development Goals and including 192 national pavilions – will welcome tens of millions of visitors starting in October.
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The UAE’s investments in domestic renewable energy – including many of the world’s largest solar projects – over the past 15 years have yielded the world’s lowest solar costs. Its investments internationally have also contributed to renewable energy’s dramatic cost reductions over the last decade, reshaping global energy markets.
The Emirates has invested about $17 billion in commercial renewable energy projects on six continents and provided more than $1bn of grants and soft loans for renewable energy power plants, including through the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund and UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund.
The country is currently putting considerable resources into carbon capture and storage to decarbonise heavy industry, led initiatives in climate-smart agriculture and prioritised biodiversity conservation.
“As Cop 28 host, the UAE would leverage its experience as a regional and global convener to mobilise all actors in achieving the Paris Agreement and reinforcing the compelling investment case for raising ambitions,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
“Climate impacts are already being acutely felt, but our experience gives us optimism that we can meet global climate goals while creating social and economic opportunities – with contributions coming from all corners of the globe.”