Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, will lead the UAE’s delegation at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow.
The UN climate talks, which begin on Sunday, will centre on efforts to deliver on pledges to meet the goals of the Paris Accords, signed in 2015.
Cop26 president Alok Sharma has urged countries to submit ambitious emissions reductions goals before the summit to mitigate some of the most disastrous effects of climate change by keeping global warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.
Before the summit, the UAE pledged to reduce its carbon emissions 23.5 per cent by 2030. It also announced this month that it intends to reach net zero emissions by 2050, becoming the first country in the region to pledge to do so.
The summit will be hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy and runs for two weeks until November 12.
“We look forward to working with the international community to build the path to a lower carbon economy to safeguard the environment and reduce emissions, as well as create lasting economic opportunity,” said Sheikh Abdullah, Wam reported.
“We remain a committed partner in the world’s efforts to mitigate climate change and find inclusive practical climate solutions that will deliver sustainable economic growth.”
Earlier this year, UAE launched a bid to bring the Cop28 climate summit to Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Abdullah said if the UAE were confirmed as hosts, the goal would be to make Cop28 “as inclusive and action-oriented as possible, a Cop that brings together developed and developing countries and unites all sectors – public, private, academic and civil society – around a focus on tangible solutions”.
“At a time of rapidly rising climate risk that threatens all countries, we approach this important responsibility with humility and also with determination to support the international community in our pursuit of a practical agenda that is focused on implementation, has ambition, highlights opportunity and drives change,” he said.
The UAE’s ambitious 2050 net-zero initiative will involve Dh600 billion being invested in clean and renewable energy sources in the next three decades.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “Over the last 15 years, the UAE has invested heavily in clean technologies that help us both mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change while diversifying our economy, developing new industries and generating positive economic impacts for our people.
“We are focused on accelerating commercially viable clean technologies and cutting-edge solutions to enhance resource management and food and water security.
“This closely aligns with the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, which defines the next phase of our national development, creating new knowledge, new skills and new jobs.”
Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The UAE has always addressed global challenges as a constructive global citizen, and we believe partnerships are the key to progress. This bold approach has underpinned our commitment as a first mover in climate action in the region. In fact, we are now building on our strong track record of climate innovation to drive sustainable economic growth.”
Ms Almheiri is also Minister of State for Food and Water Security.
“Recognising that food systems account for more than a third of all global greenhouse gas emissions, we have partnered with the US to introduce the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate, a global initiative aimed at accelerating investments in R&D for climate-smart agri-tech,” she said.
Set to be launched during COP26, the joint UAE-US initiative aims to make agriculture “part of the solution to address the climate crisis, build resilience to its impacts, and create co-benefits of climate action”, Wam reported.