The United Arab Emirates has been engaging business stakeholders over the past two years to address climate and environmental challenges, leading to partnerships that are cutting hazardous gas emissions, the country’s minister of climate change and environment said on Sunday.
One of the key outcomes of this has been a partnership between Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) and cement companies across the country, which has radically reduced polluting nitrogen oxides emissions, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi said at the Clean Air Forum held in Abu Dhabi..
“EGA successfully arranged spent pot lining - waste generated from aluminium production processes - to be utilised in cement factories as alternative energy sources,” he said.
“This partnership led to addressing global climate challenges - by managing to cut the CO2 emissions by nearly 10 percent,” he added.
The United Arab Emirates has a plan to develop its green economy which is expected to generate thousands of jobs and boost economic growth while addressing key environmental challenges. The UAE Green Agenda 2030 focuses on developing green industries, such as clean energy, green buildings and sustainable cities, sustainable food, environmental goods and services, as well as sustainable tourism.
“Our initial estimate indicates that these efforts would result in 4 to 5.5 percent higher GDP growth and generating 160,000 new jobs by 2030,” Al Zeyoudi said, speaking in Arabic.
“While this would help more prosperity and diversification of the national economy, it should (also) contribute to a substantial mitigation of air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.
In June 2017, the UAE Cabinet adopted the National Climate Change Plan 2017-2050. Its aim is to foster collaboration between the private sector and the government to tackle climate change. It also seeks to raise the quality of life in the UAE. (Read more here).
“We strongly believe in the role of the private sector in realising better air quality as well as low carbon economic diversification and job creation,” the minister said today.
Green finance is also gaining momentum in the UAE, and the country is looking to stimulate investment in sustainable projects through setting a green fiscal policy, according to a statement on the ministry’s website. (Read more here).
The issue of air quality presents a major sustainability challenge that affects quality of life, and the UAE identified it as one of the key national priorities under its Vision 2021 strategy, Al Zeyoudi said.
“Air Quality Index is included among the 52 National Key Performance Indicators, and the target is set at 90 percent of green days to be achieved by 2021. In the past few years, we have made significant progress in air quality management and achieved 76 percent of green days in 2016,” he added.
This year, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) set up the UAE Air Emissions Inventory to provide comprehensive, real time data on pollution levels.
A study by World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with around 90 percent of indoor and outdoor air pollution-related mortalities happening in low- and middle-income countries.
(Reporting by Nada Al Rifa; Editing by Michael Fahy).
© ZAWYA 2017