Israel talks up ‘paradise’ of climate co-operation with UAE and others

Normalising Arab-Israeli ties are enabling startups and technology sharing in a drought-prone region

Madinat Zayed, United Arab Emirates, March 16, 2013: 
Last minute preparations for the tomorrow's inauguration are in full swing at the Shams1 solar power plant on Saturday, March 16, 2013, near the Madinat Zayed in Western Region, UAE.  Shams, the Middle EastÕs largest renewable energy project, will begin feeding power to the Abu Dhabi national grid after its official inauguration on March 17, 2013.
Silvia Razgova / The National

Senior Israeli envoy Gilad Erdan on Tuesday talked up growing co-operation with the UAE and other Arab states on fighting climate change and the prospects of a “paradise of progress” in the drought-prone Middle East.

Mr Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the US and the UN, said last year’s Abraham Accord normalisation deals between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco were opening doors to technology sharing in the arid and turbulent region.

He told the UN Security Council of a “new era” in ties that would help turn the war-ravaged Middle East into a “centre of creativity and solutions to the world's most pressing challenges”.

“Israel is a global leader in crucial areas such as water management, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy,” Mr Erdan told the council.

“Together with the nations of the Abraham Accords, and all nations which seek peace, we can turn the Middle East into a global hub of climate innovation for the benefit of our environment, our economies and the future of our children.”

His comments followed a first-of-its-kind meeting on Monday in Washington between the top diplomats of Israel, the UAE, India and the US, with joint efforts against climate change high on the agenda.

The talks brought together US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and India's Minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

UAE officials have also promoted co-operation with Israel on agriculture, renewable energy, water conservation and other environmental issues, including a tie-up between Gulf-Israel Green Ventures and the UAE’s United Stars Group in February.

Israel, Morocco and dozens of other countries have signed up to the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, a joint US-UAE plan to raise money to fund research into technology for cleaner farming and food transport systems.

This year Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the US, said “warmer relations will help get us to a cooler planet”.

Later this month, signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change will meet for the Cop26 talks in Glasgow, Scotland, in a collective effort to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The planet has so far warmed by 1.2°C and is headed for at least 2.8°C this century — raising the risk of fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes and other weather disasters that could force millions of people from their homes.

Updated: October 19th 2021, 5:25 PM