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Dream Green Team at UAE COP28 sets ambitious targets – News

Dream Green Team at UAE COP28 sets ambitious targets – News

The nation’s collective intent on climate change and sustainable development leadership has been in the making for at least fifteen years

by Ehtesham Shahid

published: Monday, January 16, 2023 at 11:45 pm

Leadership often develops with attempts at national transformation. When then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit in January 2011, he took a guided tour of Masdar City. By then, Masdar had become a hub for sustainable energy solutions in the UAE. Ban was accompanied on that trip by others besides Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Masdar’s founding CEO.

Backed by Ban Ki-moon – “The Future Showcased at Masdar” – Dr Al Jaber has arrived as a leader of the sustainability movement in the UAE. Around the same time, when I reached out to Dr Al Jaber’s office to ask for his comments on the UAE’s progress as a renewable energy destination, he linked it to his progress as a member of the global community. “We are honored to be part of the nation’s progress, especially through the creation and development of the renewable energy and clean technology industries, a new economic sector designed to benefit society globally,” he said.

Dr. Al Jaber successfully oversaw Masdar’s mission to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy. On January 12, the Presidential Court announced the leadership team for the UAE COP28 from November 30 to December 12, 2023, and appointed him as COP President.

A few days ago, in his first speech as the UAE President-designate of COP28, his many years of leadership in this field had been brought to the fore. “We want it to be a COP [COP28] Solidarity that connects North and South across the globe and includes the public and private sectors, scientists and civil society, women and youth. We want it to be a practical COP, a COP for action, a COP for everyone, a COP that raises ambition and moves from a goal to actually accomplishing it in terms of mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and of course financial,” Dr. Al Jaber at the Atlantic Council Energy Forum.

The UAE’s collective intentions on climate change and sustainability leadership have been in the making for at least fifteen years. During this time, leadership emerged organically to drive the process forward. After addressing national and regional priorities, Dr Al Jaber was tasked with developing the COP28 agenda in collaboration with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Steele and Egypt’s COP27 Chair Sameh Shoukry.

As Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), Dr. Al Jaber brings a lot of heritage to the role. He served two terms as Special Envoy for Climate Change (2010-2016, 2020-present), and played an active role in more than 10 COPs, including the historic Paris COP21 in 2015. He brings 20 years of executive business and leadership experience in government, climate policy, and renewable and conventional energy.

He was also the first-ever CEO to chair the COP, playing a key role in shaping the country’s clean energy path. Throughout his career, he has pioneered a practical and responsible approach to accelerating the energy transition, including climate action, energy accessibility, energy security and economic growth.

As CEO of ADNOC, Dr Al Jaber spearheads efforts to decarbonize and diversify the company’s operations and investments. This is the drive to make today’s energy cleaner while investing in the next generation of clean energy. As President-elect of COP28, he will play a key role in leading the intergovernmental process, building consensus and driving climate outcomes with a wide range of partners, including business and civil society.

Dr Al Jaber knows that the UAE is approaching COP28 with responsibility and ambition. The country advocates an inclusive agenda to make progress on mitigation. It also requires an energy transition that encourages participation by all stakeholders and ensures that climate finance reaches the most vulnerable. The need of the time is to accelerate funding for adaptation and building facilities to deal with loss and damage.

There is also widespread recognition that climate action represents a huge economic opportunity to invest in sustainable growth. In other words, finance is the key to unlocking climate action. The UAE is committed to supporting and facilitating the review of international financial institutions to scale up public financing, leverage private financing and improve access. According to Dr Al Jaber, “This will be a critical moment to mobilize the political will to respond to ‘what the science tells us we need to achieve to keep the target to limit global warming to 1.5C by 2050’.”

No leader can get the job done without a team, and the UAE’s COP28 team lives up to its name. The appointment of Shamma Al Mazrui as Youth Climate Champion and Razan Al Mubarak as UN High Level Champion on Climate Change are other well-deserved nominations. The former’s role seeks to elevate the voices of youth globally throughout the COP process, while the latter’s mandate is to strengthen participation and mobilize efforts by non-state actors. This is a dream team ready to deliver to a promising congregation.

– The author is a senior researcher based in Abu Dhabi

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