Target of 1.5°C global warming ‘non-negotiable’, says COP28 president designate
The UAE will explore all opportunities to partner with India and contribute to its “high growth, low carbon pathway”, said COP28 president designate Sultan Al Jaber.
New Delhi: Keeping the 1.5 degrees C target for global warming alive is “non-negotiable”, COP28 President Designate Sultan Al Jaber said on Wednesday at an event in the Indian capital. “ It is also clear that business as usual won’t get us there. We need a paradigm shift in our approach to mitigation, adaptation, finance, and loss and damage,” he added.
Al Jaber also described India’s target of adding 500 GW of clean energy generating capacity in the next seven years as a “powerful” statement of intent. “As one of the largest investors in renewables, the UAE will explore all opportunities for partnership with India to contribute to its high growth, low carbon pathway,” added Al Jaber, also the CEO of State oil giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation (ADNOC) and founding CEO of Masdar, a government-owned renewable energy company, speaking at the World Sustainable Development Summit organised by The Energy and Resources Institute.
The UAE will explore all opportunities to partner with India and contribute to its “high growth, low carbon pathway” he said.
Earlier in the day, Al Jaber had meetings with union environment minister, Bhupendra Yadav and minister of external affairs, S Jaishankar.
“Met with COP 28 President Designate HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber. Our discussion included cooperation on issues of climate change during the presidencies of G20 of India and upcoming COP28 presidency of UAE. Highlighted the need to focus on Global Stocktake, Global Goal on Adaptation, Climate Finance and Loss and Damage during COP28. Also, underlined the importance of adopting Lifestyle for Environment, LiFE with urgency,” tweeted Yadav following their meeting.
“Good to meet Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology of UAE and COP 28 President designate. Exchanged perspectives on taking forward our shared priorities during India’s G20 Presidency and @COP28_UAE,” tweeted Jaishankar.
“This great country (India) is well on its way to becoming the third largest economy in the world. And this makes it one of the largest consumers of energy. As such, India’s sustainable development is critical, not just for India, but for the whole world,” Al Jaber said in his speech.
Al Jaber is the first serving oil firm CEO to take the post of heading the UN Climate Conference (COP).His nomination raised concerns about the potential conflict of interest his selection as the top climate negotiator may create, but Al Jaber has sought to put those to rest.
While some experts say admitting that global warming will exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold (over pre-industrial levels) -- this could happen as early as next decade -- is pragmatic, others are of the view that giving up on one of the foundational goals of the historic Paris agreement would send out the wrong signals. The 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) is scheduled for November in the UAE.
Al Jaber said COP28 will also push for scaling up and delivery of climate finance, another contentious issue in multilateral climate talks. “Ladies and gentlemen, the step change in the progress we need will require lots of capital-- not just billions, but trillions. And we must make sure that this capital is accessible and affordable. A key enabler will be the reform of the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks. We must mobilize much more concessional finance to unlock more private sector capital and target investments where they are needed most. As such, scaling and accelerating climate finance will be one of the key goals of the COP28 Presidency, and we will rally all relevant parties in an effort to get it done.”
Among Al Jaber’s plan to keep the 1.5 degree C goal in view are hydrogen, carbon capture, and renewable energy capacity will be key areas. “We must triple renewable energy capacity, double hydrogen production, expand nuclear power, improve battery storage, scale up carbon capture and enhance efficiency,” he said.
COP28 is likely to be significant because the main item on the agenda is a global stocktaking, the first ever assessment of how far countries have managed to align themselves with the Paris Agreement goals of keeping global warming well below 2 degree C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. There are likely to be negotiations on the Global Goal on Adaptation and finance for adaptation which are key for climate vulnerable countries such as India.
“The United Arab Emirates possibly has the largest investments abroad in renewables. Through MASDAR (also known as Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), they have invested in around 44 countries. They started investing in renewables when renewables were not yet there. The UAE domestically has ambitious plans. They are already investing in hydrogen and they are exporting ammonia. So, they are looking at the New World. They are very particular about having a successful climate summit,” Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency told HT in an interview on February 12.
Al Jaber was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award by TERI on Wednesday because he has an honorary doctorate in philosophy from TERI and has traveled to India in the past for his studies.
Yadav who delivered the keynote address at WSDS said that despite being the fastest-growing economy in the World, India is acting on climate change and biodiversity loss. India has 75 Ramsar Wetland sites, 33 elephant reserves, 53 tiger reserves, twelve Blue Flag beaches, has successfully implemented a ban on single-use plastic updated its nationally determined contribution under Paris Agreement, and has reintroduced Cheetahs from two African countries -- all of which are testimony to action taken, he said.
“India has already submitted its Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy document at COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh which is premised on two major pillars of climate justice and sustainable lifestyles alongside principles of CBDR-RC. With this India has joined list of select 58 countries who have submitted their new or updated LT-LEDS…Not only at the domestic level but at international platform, particularly focusing on climate resilience, India has been helpful by providing value additional inputs, especially to Small Island Developing Nations who are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. India has created and has been nurturing the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure,” Yadav added.