Sunday, 4 May 2014, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be joined by former US Vice President Al Gore, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, at the “Abu Dhabi Ascent” – a high-level climate change meeting to be attended by government, business and civil society leaders. Over 75 cabinet-level government ministers will participate in the meeting, which plays a pivotal role in mobilizing action in advance of the Climate Summit, to be hosted by Ban Ki-moon, at the UN, in September.
The meeting, in Abu Dhabi, is designed to build momentum for the Climate Summit, which aims to catalyze transformative action and build political impetus in advance of the 2015 UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Paris, where a global, binding climate agreement will be finalized.
Felipe Calderón who chairs the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate said:
“A major focus of Abu Dhabi Ascent will be on the economic benefits of action on climate change. Reducing emissions, while promoting economic and social development, is the challenge before us, because there is no alternative.”
“I’m so pleased to join the Secretary General, and leaders from around the world, in Abu Dhabi to discuss the bold leadership – and bold actions – that the climate crisis requires,” said Al Gore, co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. “We face the most pressing challenge of our time, but we have the tools we need to solve it. Investing in an economy based on clean energy and sustainable capitalism is crucial to ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future.”
Goals of the Abu Dhabi Ascent include bringing world leaders together to advance an ambitious climate agenda for the September Climate Summit, at a time when climate change has once again emerged as one of the world’s most pressing issues. As the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported earlier this month, greenhouse gas emissions worldwide have risen dramatically over the past decade, and need to be cut by a minimum of 40 percent, and as much as 70 percent, in order to limit the increase of the global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius by mid-century.
“The Secretary-General’s decision to schedule this important meeting in Abu Dhabi underscores the transformation already underway in the UAE and the role we are playing in addressing the global climate agenda,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minster of state and special envoy for energy and climate change. “While we have long been rich in hydrocarbons, we now export both conventional and renewable sources of energy worldwide. Accelerating the pace of renewable energy adoption is a critical strategy as we face the challenge of climate change, and this is one of many issues to be discussed during the Abu Dhabi Ascent.”
During this two-day meeting attendees will address action areas that offer significant impact in greenhouse gas emissions reduction while creating strategies for resilience. Issues to be discussed include those surrounding agriculture, cities, climate adaptation, climate finance, energy efficient technologies, forest management, renewable energy and transportation. The meeting will also evaluate international and multi-stakeholder efforts that can inspire action at the grass roots-level.
The selection of Abu Dhabi to host this meeting is reflective of the UAE’s worldwide reputation as a progressive leader on energy diversification and climate change policies. The UAE’s status as a global energy hub of expertise is behind the selection of Abu Dhabi as the permanent headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, the first intergovernmental organization located in the Middle East.