Gulf news UAE 'meeting climate change demands of COP21'

UAE 'meeting climate change demands of COP21'

ABU DHABI // Stopping the effects of climate change will require better cooperation among countries, delegates at a forum have heard.

Meeting the demands of the Conference of Parties or COP21 goals of limiting global warming by 2°C by 2050 will require social and economic changes both domestically and on an international level, said Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Tolerance and Happiness, at the opening of the Climate Change Negotiation Forum.

The event, entitled The Road from Paris, took place on Wednesday at Zayed University and was attended by environment experts from around the world.

"No country can address climate change on it's own, this is a problem that must be addressed globally, however, there are several standing challenges that can be expressed at this gathering," said Sheikha Lubna.

She believed that COP21, which took place in November and December last year and led to the Paris Agreement, was the first time that countries had really banded together to address global warming.

"Climate change is not just an environmental challenge, it is a development issue, which has enormous social and economic consequences, we need to know that scale of the stand against the sustainable development," she said.

The UAE emerged from COP21 in a good position to maintain pace of development while also adopting sustainable energy habits, said experts at the forum.

Countries had to submit their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which defined each country's aims for the next five years, before the first review of COP21's outcomes.

The UAE's NDCs were considered among the most ambitious.

"The UAE government has committed to developing sustainable economies through various initiatives, including sustainable development, and investing in renewable energy," said Sheikha Lubna.

Shaima Al Aydarous, who was a member of the UAE's team at COP21 on behalf of the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, highlighted the work the UAE had done since the Paris Agreement was signed.

"For the first time all countries, developed and developing, have committed to a legally binding commitment to address climate change," she said.

She said the agreement that resulted was robust yet flexible, adding that steps were already being taken by the UAE to address climate change.

"For a young country like the UAE, this possibility is critical to continually develop our economy," she said.

Dr Abdul Haddad, a regional programme officer at the United Nations Environment Programme, said the UAE and GCC had to cooperate to meet their climate targets.

"The GCC can leap in adopting low carbon economy approaches, evident from the current measures recently adopted, such as the partial removal of subsidies on fuel, electricity and water," he said.

He added it is was good sign that the GCC had already invested billions in renewable energy as it would provide a key component of the future economies of the region.

The next meeting of COP21 will take place in Marrakech, Morocco in 2017, where countries will be asked to report on their NDCs.