H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), said the UAE is keen to participate in the international efforts to protect the environment and achieve the sustainable development goals, on the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
In his speech on the occasion of the 25th National Environment Day, held under the theme, "Climate Action Now", he said the UAE’s leadership realised, at an early stage, the growing risks of climate change and was among the first countries to join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other climate conventions, including the Paris Agreement.
Sheikh Hamdan stressed that the UAE is implementing several projects that aim to reduce emissions and counter climate change, including renewable and nuclear energy projects, improve energy efficiency in the oil, gas and industry sectors, and transition to low-carbon vehicles.
The UAE is financing sustainable development projects in a number of countries, he, noted. "Abu Dhabi Fund for Supporting Renewable Energy" is one of the country’s contributions to the global efforts to address climate change, he added.
He also stated the UAE aims to implement several plans, which include increasing the contribution of clean energy, improving production and supply management efficiency, developing carbon capture and storage systems, supporting agricultural innovation to protect the environment, and leading hydrogen production to support local low-carbon industries.
Sheikh Hamdan then pointed out that the UAE has declared several national contributions to help address climate change, including plans to reduce emissions by 23.5 percent in 2030, and has drafted the National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050 based on three pillars, which are managing emissions while maintaining economic growth, reinforcing capacities to adapt to climate change and reduce risks, and driving the UAE’s economic diversification agenda through innovative solutions.
The UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative crowns a series of successes achieved by the country in its local and international efforts to address climate change. The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa and the first oil-producing country to announce this initiative, which is appreciated globally, he further said.
The EAD is committed to carbon neutrality and will draft realistic long-term projects and initiatives to achieve the country’s vision, he opined. It also aims to enhance the emirate’s capacity to address climate change and mitigate the risks facing the environmental and economic sectors.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi’s climate change efforts are aligned with the vision of the UAE’s leadership, and the EAD prioritises air quality and climate change, Sheikh Hamdan explained, stressing that the EAD is leading a number of initiatives to reduce emissions and address climate change, raise knowledge and awareness of monitoring climate change, reduce emissions, improve ambient air quality, and lower heat stress. This will lead to better public health and encourage the community’s participation in climate action, by engaging all relevant individuals, companies and government agencies, and boosting the stature of the EAD and Abu Dhabi in the area of climate action both regionally and internationally.
As part of its five-year strategy for 2021 to 2025, the EAD will encourage the adaptation of climate change measures among economic sectors and infrastructure projects to promote an integrated approach to climate change, under the framework of accurate and clear policies and goals, he stated. The emirate’s climate change task force, headed by the EAD and with the membership of the Department of Energy and relevant local authorities, will play a major role in emissions management and adapting to climate change.
Since 2010, the EAD, with the support and participation of all sectors, has been sharing an emissions inventory report based on the best international methodologies, which includes the results of the fourth inventory of greenhouse gas emissions issued in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year, and the outcomes of the emirate’s greenhouse gas emissions inventories.
Sheikh Hamdan noted that the UAE is preparing to host the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UNFCCC, adding the EAD will play an active role with its strategic partners to ensure the success of the event.
"The UAE is serious in its efforts to lead the region to address this global threat. We must create a better world for future generations. Hosting major events, such as COP28, will place us on the right track," he said at the end of his speech.