DEWA showcases UAE’s achievements in the transition towards a green economy and implementing green initiatives at COP21

PARIS, 7th December, 2015 (WAM)–Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy & MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has delivered a speech in a session titled the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Paris.

The speech is part of Al Tayer’s participation in the UAE delegation to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). Al Tayer emphasised that the UAE is a pioneer in the transition towards a green economy, implementing green initiatives, adopting economic diversification and its commitment to achieving sustainable development, based on knowledge, innovation, and sustainable green growth, to achieve economic prosperity. This is achieved by launching ambitious initiatives in renewable energy, solar energy, smart grids and developing a strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

Al Tayer noted that the UAE was one of the first countries to support the international society to meet the challenge of climate change and one of the first nations to endorse the extension of the Kyoto protocol in 2005 to limit greenhouse gases in industrial countries. It was the first nation from the region to sign the Copenhagen Accord at COP15 to limit emissions.

Al Tayer called on all nations to work more closely and enhance cooperation to reach an agreement at COP21, noting that the great Arab historian Ibn Khuldoun said that the greater the social cohesion, the greater its economic growth. Al Tayer said he was confident that all nations will work together towards the greater good, as does the UAE.

“As mandated by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and to support the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we are moving forward with solar power projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will generate 1,000MW of solar power by 2020. The UAE has made considerable progress in bringing renewable and clean energy to the region, despite having one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Our capital, Abu Dhabi, is the first outside Europe and New York to house the headquarters of a United Nations Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA),” said Al Tayer.

Just a few days ago, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, launched the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy. The strategy sets the ambitious target of solar power generating 5,000MW by 2030, which will be 25% of Dubai’s total power output, to save approximately up to 4 million tonnes per annum in emissions, the equivalent of planting about 100 million trees per annum. Dubai also aims to have solar panels on the rooftops of all buildings in the Emirate by 2030. By then, 80% of the waste will be converted into energy as well.

“We will not rest in 2030, as His Highness has decreed that the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 target is that 75% of Dubai’s total power output will come from clean energy by 2050, so our city will have the lowest carbon footprint in the world by then. Our nation is fully within the sunbelt’s higher levels of radiation and so our commitment to combatting climate change comes primarily in the form of harnessing that power to manage rising surface temperatures. We will continue our efforts through the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, formed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, to develop Clean Development Mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to pre-industrial levels to support this goal.”

He said Sheikh Mohammed has committed a US$136 million (AED 500 million) fund that will be invested directly in research and development for next-generation clean energy sources. And Dubai will host the Solar Decathlon Middle East in 2018 and 2020 to bring solar power and sustainability even closer together through innovation.

“Financing a transition to a low-carbon world requires determined and timely deployment of smart public policies. The Dubai Green Fund proposed by Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 will contribute over USD 27 billion (AED 100 billion) towards clean energy projects in the Emirate and will establish a Free Trade Zone specifically for green investments. Dubai is already making best use of Public-Private Partnerships to make these projects a reality, as proven by Dubai getting the world’s lowest tariff for utility scale solar power.”

“The UAE has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), together with 145 other countries, to tackle climate change, especially in terms of environmental stewardship of energy by conserving our natural resources, such as the increase of renewable targets I have mentioned, and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy’s Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021.”

He added that collectively, the INDCs can slow the rise in temperature. Although they are not sufficient to limit global temperature rising to the recommended level of 2 degrees Celsius this century, the INDCs assessed in the Emissions Gap report represent a historic step in the de-carbonising of our economies. To close the gap and limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, it is essential that a new universal climate agreement is adopted by governments at COP21.

“This is no myth. The reality is clear. Dubai is well-positioned to be a global leader in the transition towards a green and sustainable economy. This is based on its proven track record in working towards solar power and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the impact of climate change, provide solutions for sustainable green growth and living as part of the UAE’s strategy, and to cooperate with other countries on these issues,” Al Tayer said.

“We are here to work together with you to achieve these goals. We are increasing our momentum, driven by the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE Vision 2021 and the Dubai Plan 2021, to grow sustainably and to reinforce Dubai’s position as a global hub of clean energy and its transition towards a green economy.”

“Climate change is a reality, and something our nation is not just talking something about, but is actively doing something about. Our nation takes its commitments and the vision of its leaders very seriously. We will make that brighter future for your children, our children, and their children. I trust that we are all united in this goal,” concluded Al Tayer.