The UAE and France will collaborate to maximise the social and economic benefits of climate action in order to drive a green economy and create ‘future industries, skills, and jobs’. As part of President Sheikh Mohamed’s state visit to Paris, the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change and the French Government signed an agreement to strengthen their cooperation on pressing environmental challenges. According to state news agency Wam, the agreement aims to ‘raise ambition’ for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to support the UAE’s hosting of Cop28 next year.
In 2016, the UAE became the first Middle Eastern country to sign the Paris Agreement, which calls for global warming to be kept well below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Agnes Pannier-Runacher, French Minister of Energy Transition, signed the agreement in Paris. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Catherine Colonna, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, both observed it.
Making good on promises
‘As the host country of Cop28 in 2023, the UAE is eager to collaborate closely with France to translate promises into pragmatic outcomes that will benefit all countries and communities,’ Dr. Al Jaber said. According to the envoy for climate change, the two allies recognise that ‘climate action can be a key driver in building a new, low-emissions economic growth model underpinned by sustainability, creating new industries, skills, and jobs needed for the future.’
‘This partnership will advance progressive climate action and raise ambition for the Paris Agreement’s swift implementation,’ Dr. Al Jaber said. ‘ More than 15 years ago, the UAE prioritized climate action as part of its economic growth and diversification strategy, while also contributing innovative and practical solutions to one of the world’s most pressing challenges. We have demonstrated our commitment to climate action by being the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement, as well as the first to commit to reducing emissions across the board.’ In accordance with the Paris Agreement targets, the UAE has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The countries agreed to collaborate on Cop28 preparations, as well as the promotion of energy efficiency and the rapid deployment of renewable energy power generation. They will work together on sustainable agriculture, the agrifood industry, food and water security, heavy industry decarbonization, and scientific research. Climate change goals must be sustainable, according to the UAE’s environment minister, if governments are to stick to them.
According to Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the transition to clean energy must be realistic. ‘ We must be accountable, ‘ She stated. ‘We must decarbonize as much as possible, as the UAE is doing. ‘ And we need to use that energy to build tomorrow’s energy systems.’ Last autumn, at Cop26 in Glasgow, the UAE committed to its net-zero plan and to investing in other countries to help them transition. ‘We will invest another $50 billion over the next decade, knowing that we have already invested approximately $14 billion in the country on clean and renewable energy and approximately $17 billion in over 70 countries.’
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