His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayhan, foreign minister of the UAE and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, officially opened climate change discussions in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Ascent – a special two-day, high level, United Nations event brings together political, business and society leaders and policy makers from across the developed and developing world in an effort to catalyze ambitious climate change solutions.
More than 1,100 participants, including over 100 government ministers, are attending the event.
In a keynote address, at today’s opening ceremony, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah urged leaders and policy makers to foster meaningful discussion, enabling concrete and immediate action to avoid irreversible climate change.
HH Sheikh Abdullah, said, “We are living in an interconnected world and what affects one country affects us all. That is why the UAE strongly believes in collaboration and multilateral initiatives. No country can combat climate change on its own. But together we have the ability to achieve tangible and successful results. In the UAE we have worked hard to ensure the long-term prosperity, growth and welfare of our people. Based on this vision, we have invested locally, regionally and internationally in projects, solutions and programmes, that help mitigate climate change. We are proud that our pioneering efforts have encouraged other countries in the region to embrace clean technology.”
Sheikh Abdullah added, “Our national objectives include producing 24% of our electricity from carbon-free sources by 2021. Through Masdar’s projects we have achieved big progress in the field of solar energy, including the commissioning of Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant, with a capacity of 100MW. We have also commissioned the first phase of the 1000MW HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar complex.”
A critical milestone to build momentum and drive success at the Climate Summit, to be held in New York, in September, Abu Dhabi Ascent will explore nine high-impact areas, including energy efficiency, land use and forests, finance, renewable energy, agriculture, resilience, transportation, short-lived climate pollutants and cities. September’s Climate Summit will further galvanise action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society to support an ambitious global action plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Summit will focus on solutions that demonstrate how early action can result in substantial economic benefits.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said, “The Abu Dhabi Ascent reflects the momentum that is growing in how the world is confronting the climate challenge,” the UN Secretary-General said. “There is a real sense that change is in the air. Climate solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time for leaders to lead,” he added. “The Abu Dhabi Ascent is bringing together the people that can usher in a new era of climate action. By forging new relationships and scaling up initiatives, the Abu Dhabi Ascent will provide the launch pad for a Summit that promotes prosperous economies while tackling climate change head-on,” he concluded.
According to the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report it is estimated that the world has 15 years to reverse generations of carbon intensive activity in order to avoid a global temperature increase of two degrees Centigrade. This will require a total re-think about the industries that enabled Western economies to thrive and that are powering growth throughout the developed world.
“Organising this meeting in Abu Dhabi reflects the United Nation’s confidence in the active role the United Arab Emirates is playing to mitigate climate change and that we are part of the solution. During Abu Dhabi Ascent over the course of the next two days we will shape and strengthen the initiatives across concrete action areas that will enable us to holistically and successfully address climate challenge,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. “Together, we have a shared responsibility to deliver a decade of action where governments and the private sector come together and seize opportunities to advance clean technologies and set the foundation for a sustainable future,” he added.
The Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting was formally announced in February, by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. Other notable attendees include former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, former US Deputy President, Al Gore, former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderone and the Chairman of UN-Energy and former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh Yumkella.
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