UK government backs UAE leadership to deliver at Cop28

Clean tech entrepreneurs look for big decisions at London's Innovation Zero conference

Innovation Zero in London. Photo: Innovation Zero
Powered by automated translation

Graham Stuart, Britain’s envoy for Cop28, has said the country is working alongside the UAE to ensure a successful outcome of negotiations at the November meeting.

He praised Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of the Cop28 summit, for his long track record in driving the transition to lower emissions.

Dr Sultan has said there is no shortage of ideas on how to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2030 but what is missing is getting it done.

"Sultan Al Jaber, of course, before he became head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil and Gas Company, was the founder of Masdar, which is now the world's second largest generator of renewable electricity and has ambitions, from memory, for 100 gigawatts production by 2037," Mr Stuart, the UK minister of state for Energy Security and Net Zero told a conference in London on Thursday.

"I think if we are to meet net zero we need to align states and companies around the world and make sure that we come up with a practical route to delivering that zero."

Graham Stuart at Innovation Zero in London. Matthew Davies / The National

Mr Stuart was speaking at the Innovation Zero conference in London where he said that Cop28 must bring breakthrough agreements to keep the world on track for the Paris Agreement's global warming target. "We look forward to working with the UAE to ensure that Cop28 is a success and gets more confidence committed to the necessary emissions reductions to keep 1.5°C alive and we very much hope that they can be constructive and successful in those endeavours," he said.

'The world has woken up'

Britain was providing an example of how quickly the transition to climate friendly policies can happen, having moved from getting 7 per cent of it's electricity from renewable sources in 2010 to 58 per cent today.

“We can do this – we’re leading the world,” Mr Stuart said. “It’s so important to engage internationally and make sure that everyone recognises the scientific evidence and the need to act.

“The world has woken up to this. The world is going to follow a lead which the UK is setting."

Over two days, Innovation Zero brought together 7,000 policymakers, innovators, entrepreneurs and financiers in London's Olympia exhibition hall.

Innovation Zero Conference

'Real decisions'

Those exhibiting their wares and services at Innovation Zero certainly agreed that practical routes to Net Zero were now required and they hoped that Cop28 would deliver them in a very concrete way.

"I would like to see real decisions being taken with accountability behind them," Alessa Berg, executive chairwoman at ESG360 told The National.

"If you look at the Paris Agreement, there has been no real action in line with what was the commitment and there has been no real accountability mechanism either.

"So, at Cop28, I would really like to see decisions being implemented in a pragmatic and accountable way that ensures that net-zero decarbonisation commitments are going to be followed through."

Daren Watson, senior cloud infrastructure engineer at Peasoup Cloud agreed that the time for just talking at the Cops was now over.

“More emphasis on actual action, rather than just the words,” he told The National.

”There’s a lot of technology out there now that if people got together and started actively consuming it, you would see a lot more benefit for everybody.”

Quoting Elvis Presley, Mr Watson added: “A little less conversation, a little more action.”

Rebecca Zeitlin, marketing director at the methane-decarbonising firm, Levidian, echoed that sentiment, adding that it would be "good to see more tangible progress" at Cop28.

"I’m interested to see the amount of pressure industry applies to government at Cop28, because my perception is that industry is moving faster than government in many places.

And this is an opportunity for industry to apply more pressure than has been applied before," she told The National.

Updated: May 25, 2023, 2:50 PM

View from London

Your weekly update from the UK and Europe

View from London