Shorouk Awad (Dubai)
Despite what the international community is witnessing at the moment of the return of interest in environmental and climate issues to the top priorities of the majority of countries in the world in order to achieve the principle of green recovery from the consequences of the emerging “Corona” virus “Covid-19”, the UAE has not realized this principle now, because it has adopted it over the years. The past has crossed the green economy for its relentless keenness to curb the challenges of climate change affecting humanity and the sustainability of the environment and life on the planet, in addition to employing the latest technologies and many more to meet those challenges, according to experts in climate change, environment and economics.
In statements to “Al-Ittihad”, the experts confirmed that the UAE has witnessed during the past years a wide movement in terms of enhancing investment and financing for projects and sustainability trends and a shift towards the green economy system, to advance efforts to work for the climate and protect the future of mankind from the most important challenge currently facing it, and to ensure a better future for generations. Current and future, as many strategies, initiatives and projects have been launched.
Initially, Qais Al-Suwaidi, an expert at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said: Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues at the national, Arab and global levels, given the economic, social and environmental risks it entails, stressing that this issue received early and great attention in the UAE, The state has made numerous efforts to face the repercussions of this change and adapt to its potential impacts on ecosystems and economic sectors. In the context of these efforts, it adopted an important set of policies that included a policy of economic diversification and a focus on the green economy, and a policy of diversifying energy sources with a focus on renewable and clean energy, enhancing energy efficiency and others. .
He mentioned that the UAE has had a busy journey in working for the environment and climate since its establishment by the late founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – may God have mercy on him – and being the first country in the Middle East to voluntarily support and sign the Paris Climate Agreement, and provide a global platform for assessing the implementation of Specific national contributions by hosting and organizing the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting last June, and stimulating global efforts by announcing the raising of the ceiling for their specific national contributions at the United Nations Climate Summit last September.
He pointed to the most important efforts of the state on working for climate, including: launching the natural capital map project in the country, which assesses the impact of projects in all sectors on local ecosystems, a guide to sustainable green business, and providing platforms that bring together innovators and entrepreneurs in sustainability with investors and financing destinations. To ensure the implementation of their innovations and turn them into effective projects on the ground, pointing out that it is one of the first countries in the region to ratify the Paris Agreement, which obliges more than 180 countries to make more efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to them, as they pledged as part of their voluntary national contributions Specific requirements towards countries in general and Arab countries in particular to diversify energy sources and reach the share of clean and renewable energy in the total domestic energy mix to 24% by 2021.
He added, “During the United Nations Climate Action Summit held last September in New York, the country also raised the ceiling for its contributions to reach 50% of clean and renewable energy by 2050, in addition to establishing a national policy framework in line with its proactive role in international climate diplomacy. During the transition to a green economy, which is characterized by the ability to adapt to climate change and represents a promising opportunity for economic diversification, which ultimately contributes to strengthening the country’s position globally as a pioneering model in the field of renewable energy and green innovation.
Qais pointed out that the aforementioned solutions formed part of the country’s efforts for the climate. Thanks to the support provided by the wise leadership, the Global Green Growth Institute was established, which contributed to stimulating the study and research of climate change, and the launch of the “Climate Change Research Network in the UAE” which will work To strengthen the system of data collection and the preparation of research and studies related to the effects of climate change, and to enhance the capabilities of all sectors to adapt to its repercussions in the Middle East region, through close cooperation with many academic and research institutions specialized in the region.
On the rest of the solutions that the UAE has taken to respond to climate risks, Qais Al Suwaidi said: “The National Climate Change Plan 2050 seeks to create a general framework that strengthens and unifies local efforts to work for climate, conduct assessments of the risks of its change and take immediate measures by 2020, and generalize Adaptation planning in development policy by 2025, and continuous monitoring and evaluation to ensure evidence-based adaptation measures during the period between 2030 and 2050. Work is also underway to issue a federal law on climate change, whose tasks are to enhance the country’s position in global competitiveness indicators and support efforts Sustainable development and green economy, and the law will contribute to supporting innovation, research and development in the field of climate action, in addition to the national adaptation program with its change and aims to meet the requirements of the first phase of the climate change plan, as the program is based on three main objectives represented in identifying climate trends and assessing impacts , And identify climate risks that require urgent action, and the involvement of all stakeholder groups in implementation, and many other solutions.
He pointed out that the UAE has invested in 70 countries around the world in projects with a total value of more than $ 16.8 billion, and the country has also provided more than $ 400 million in aid, financing and soft loans for clean energy projects around the world.
Local and global interest
In turn, Dr. Riyadh Al-Dabbagh at Ajman University considered that with the start of global interest in the issue of climate change, the UAE focused its attention on the problems and challenges related to climate change, in parallel with its interest in other environmental issues, and this interest was evident in the large number of strategies, initiatives and projects Related to responding to these challenges, stressing that the state will not stop there, but rather intends to move forward to complete what it started, and devise more solutions and means to invest its resources with great wisdom and in a sustainable manner, to enhance its environmental sustainability and enrich its pioneering experience with more achievements, based on creativity. Innovation, advanced science and best practices, and employing the energies and capabilities of the UAE youth to achieve the goals of “Action for Climate”.
He pointed out that the issue of climate change resulting from the accumulation and exacerbation of greenhouse gas emissions began with the industrial revolution, as developed countries relied on fossil fuels, especially coal, in their industries, and other factors such as changing land use, deforestation and changing production and consumption patterns played an important role in The exacerbation of this issue, however, the UAE, despite its economic prosperity in various activities and projects distributed to all sectors, and its issuance of global economic indicators, is a unique model in “working for the climate” at the global and Arab levels, and the best evidence for this is the rate at which the UAE produces carbon emissions. This is low compared to its renaissance and growth, as it does not exceed 0.5% of the global average, in addition to its active participation in international forums on climate change, as the country will participate in the coming period in the new session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (COP) 26), the country also hosts the regional climate change dialogue for the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East and North Africa on its soil.
Reda Muslim, director of the “Truth” Economic Consulting Company, confirmed that the UAE, since its inception, has paid special attention to preserving the climate, and this is evident in the sincere efforts made by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, founder of the UAE, from In order to preserve the environment within the country, as it was alerted quickly to the issue of the environment being affected by climate change, pointing out that developed countries are the main culprits in this change, through the unprecedented and unexpected industrial development, growth rates and population increase, in the emission of millions of tons of polluting carbon dioxide For air quality.
He mentioned that as a result of irresponsible human behavior, this was reflected in the deterioration of the environment and the climate at the same time, as the components of the environment were suffering from the effects of climate change represented by high temperatures and high water levels, which cast a negative shadow on the decrease in natural food security, air quality and composition, Where harmful carbon dioxide has become prevalent in it, referring to the expectations of scientists and experts confirming that if human behavior continues at the same pace, all of humanity will be affected by severe impacts that will affect the various sectors that they deal with on a daily basis, such as health, economy, food and others.
He stressed that those in charge of decision-making in the Emirates at the present time are still continuing to make more efforts to preserve the local environment by mitigating the effects of climate change, through insistence and emphasis on the need for international cooperation and international participation in preserving the climate and not spoiling the international environment. And finding real solutions to meet them even if huge sums of money are spent protecting people.
The Emirates is a bright sign
Reza Muslim pointed out that as part of its efforts to persuade some countries to join the international forum on climate change, the best evidence of this is the international consensus that shows that the UAE was and still is one of the bright and positive signs and is seen as a unique model in this forum and to be emulated, and as a result of its keenness to preserve Despite its local environment and its limited climate framework, it plays a pivotal role in the real contribution to the preservation of the global climate by providing assistance and support to international organizations specialized in this regard, and it is generous in this field, as the UAE spares no effort associated with its neighboring countries, regional countries in the Middle East and other countries. the world.
Contributions of the Emirates
In turn, Abdul Hamid Radwan, an economic advisor, confirmed that the UAE’s contributions to mitigating climate change at the global level did not come from a vacuum, but rather as a result of the benefits of a long march in the matter of working for the climate on its soil and in some countries, and this is evidenced by the contribution of Emirati companies In providing renewable energy sources to some developing countries, which was positively reflected by the provision of natural fuels and a lot of money and the alleviation of unemployment in the territories of those countries.
He explained that its global contribution on climate action was and still is more profound due to its possession of technology and financial capabilities to support developing countries, but at the local level, it has paid special attention in its plans on the environmental dimension and the green economy, which will contribute to protecting the environment in the first place. What is reflected in the selection of projects based on the industries that will be based on them until 2030, are industries that are beneficial to the environment and the well-being of society at the same time.
Experts indicated that according to statistics issued by international organizations that showed that dealing with the challenge of climate change that kills 7 million people annually as a result of air pollution, and its repercussions are expected to negatively affect the ability of 220 million people to survive by the end of this year (2021), and the value The economic losses caused by $ 335 billion in 2017, and the UAE has taken proactive steps to confront this biggest challenge by focusing in its development plans on finding viable solutions to confront it, including focusing on knowledge and studies specialized in the aspects of climate change and its impacts that we are witnessing now and expected in the future, and adopting measures to confront it. Adapting to its repercussions commensurate with its peculiarities in terms of its climatic nature, economic capabilities, demographic and societal composition, reducing carbon emissions from the industrial sector, and optimal and more effective employment of modern technologies, especially artificial intelligence and innovative solutions, which contributed to its success in confronting challenges and transforming them into development opportunities and sustainable protection. The environment.
Experts drew attention to the UAE’s keeping pace with the movement and global interest in facing the challenge of climate change, as it participated in the preparatory meetings that resulted in the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention in this regard in 1992, ratified it in 1995, and ratified the “Kyoto” Protocol upon its entry into force in the year 2004, and it was the first country in the region to ratify the “Paris Climate Agreement” in 2015, and is preparing for the participation of the international community in the new session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (COP 26), whose importance increases in motivating countries to raise The ceiling of its nationally determined contributions to keep pace with the requirements of rapid growth rates that are environmentally friendly at the same time, something that the UAE took the initiative to do by announcing the second report of its Nationally Determined Contributions last December, in which it raised the ceiling of its contributions in a way that raises the level of its local and global efforts to work for the climate and advance to the world A true practical model for protecting the planet and ensuring a better future for current and future generations, in addition to the country hosting the regional climate change dialogue for the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Middle East. Middle East and North Africa on its soil, with the participation of official representatives from the countries of the region.
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