Road to COP28

UAE names climate change envoy, ADNOC CEO Sultan al-Jaber President of COP28 in Dubai

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The UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Dr. Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber has been named the President-Designate for the UN climate change conference COP28 in Dubai.

He served two terms as the UAE special envoy, from 2010 to 2016 and from 2020 to present, and is the founding CEO of the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company, Masdar.

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“The UAE is approaching COP28 with a strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition. In cooperation with the UNFCCC and the COP27 Presidency, we will champion an inclusive agenda that ramps up action on mitigation, encourages a just energy transition that leaves no one behind, ensures substantial, affordable climate finance is directed to the most vulnerable, accelerates funding for adaptation and builds out a robust funding facility to address loss and damage,” al-Jaber was quoted as saying by the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on Thursday.

“In doing so, we will bring a pragmatic, realistic and solutions-oriented approach that delivers transformative progress for climate and for low carbon economic growth.”

“…we are committed to supporting and facilitating the ongoing review of international financial institutions to scale up public financing, leverage private finance and improve access.”

“Pragmatism and constructive dialogue must be at the forefront of our progress. As a nation at the crossroads of the globe, the UAE is well-positioned to build bridges, foster consensus and bring the world together in one shared mission to keep 1.5C alive and protect the planet for the generations who will follow us.”

Al-Jaber has reportedly played a “proactive participatory role” in ten similar climate change conferences. The latest appointment makes him the first CEO to serve as COP President.

Other appointments included Shamma Al Mazrui, the UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, and Razan Al Mubarak, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The duo will join al-Jaber’s COP28 UAE team as the Youth Climate Champion and UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, respectively.

The WAM report added that Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, the UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, will “continue to lead the UAE’s domestic efforts in addressing climate change, preserving the environment, food systems transformation, coordinating the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and setting the pathway for the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative.”

Decarbonization efforts

Masdar, which was founded by al-Jaber signed a new partnership with TAQA, Mubadala, and ADNOC last month. With this agreement, the flagship clean energy company is set to become one of the largest renewable energy investors in the world with an ambitious target of growing to at least 100GW of renewable energy capacity globally by 2030. It holds clean energy investments in over 40 countries – many in Asia and Africa.

Masdar City also plays host to the UN’s International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body facilitating cooperation and promoting the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy.

As the CEO of the UAE oil giant ADNOC – which pumps about four millions barrels daily – al-Jaber has overseen key decarbonization efforts within the business. For instance, all of ADNOC’s grid power is derived from nuclear and solar energy.

The operation also features carbon capture which converts normally-pollutant waste into hydrogen and other renewable energies.

ADNOC is also reportedly investing $15 billion over five years to incorporate low-carbon solutions, with the intention of reducing its carbon intensity by 25 percent by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050.

The UAE is also home to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, a massive solar park in Dubai, as well as the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, which is the Gulf region’s only nuclear energy source.

The COP28 event, held in Dubai’s Expo City from November 30 to December 12 this year, is expecting 70,000 participants from heads of states and academics to industry leaders and experts.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was launched in 1992 in Brazil. The Conferences have been held annually since 1995 to find solutions to reduce the impacts of climate change.

In 2015, a signature year for COP as global warming passed 1C, the Paris Agreement was announced. It is the first global pact to call for emissions pledges from both developed and developing countries, who were asked to pledge Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), with increasing ambition every five years. Signatories promised to try to keep global warming within 1.5 C of the preindustrial average.

The last COP was held in Egypt, where leaders agreed to establish a fund to compensate poorer countries already devastated by the fallout from global warming.

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