DUBAI - The UAE Climate Council, headed by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, discussed priorities on the country’s climate agenda at its first meeting since its establishment, held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE).
Almheiri said the current acceleration and exacerbation of the impacts of climate change around the world requires strengthening cooperation and scaling up action to achieve net zero. "Owing to the forward-looking vision of its wise leadership, the UAE is leading on this front with its Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative."
"Through creating a joint framework that keeps pace with the directions of the country’s leadership, the Council seeks to align efforts of government entities and increase the participation of the private sector in our drive to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reach climate neutrality. This will help us build a sustainable future, enhance the status and competitiveness of the UAE, and support the country in meeting its voluntary commitments to the Paris Agreement," she added.
As the first order of business, the Council members received a brief on the progress of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, launched in October 2021. They explored the mechanism for developing an implementation strategy for the initiative, including a status quo assessment of emissions and their sources, the legislative framework required to achieve its goals, evaluation of potential climate change challenges and relevant mitigation measures, and aligning national emission reduction plans with sustainable economic growth.
The attendees also examined the initiatives launched by MoCCAE to boost the involvement of the private sector in achieving net zero, including the National Dialogue for Climate Ambition – a series of stakeholder assemblies targeting priority sectors, such as industry, cement, transport, and waste, to foster sectoral climate efforts – and the UAE Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge, which aims to advance emission reduction nationwide.
The next item on the agenda was an overview of the updated version of the UAE’s second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, which raises the country’s climate ambition and GHG emission reduction target. Moreover, the members discussed the UAE’s participation in the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) that will be hosted by Egypt in November 2022.
The UAE Cabinet, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, approved the establishment of the UAE Climate Council in May 2022. The Council is mandated to recommend and align federal and local strategies, promote joint projects with the private sector, propose public and sectoral plans and projects related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, develop and oversee the implementation of the National Strategy for Net Zero 2050, review and update the UAE’s NDC, and report on the country’s contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In addition, it is tasked with highlighting the UAE’s climate action, facilitating participation in international conferences and other events, and driving scientific research in relevant fields.
The new council comprises eight representatives of federal government entities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Ministry of Economy; Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology; and Ministry of Education; as well as the Office of the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and the General Civil Aviation Authority.
Seven members are from local government entities, namely, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi; the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah; Ajman Municipality and Planning Department; Umm Al Quwain Municipality; the Environmental Protection and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah; and the Fujairah Environment Authority.
Several private sector representatives were selected for the council membership according to special criteria for developing the GHG inventory issued by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure for the sectors that contribute to carbon emissions and in line with the global methodology of the sectors that is used in the GHG inventory reports and the size of their impact. These include Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC); Emirates Global Aluminium; Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM); the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA); and Union Cement Company.