UAE promises to make 100 percent renewable energy by 2030

The United Arab Emirates is to host a major climate conference in the second half of the next decade, the country’s ruler said Friday, citing rising warming temperatures and reliance on renewable energy. The…

UAE promises to make 100 percent renewable energy by 2030

The United Arab Emirates is to host a major climate conference in the second half of the next decade, the country’s ruler said Friday, citing rising warming temperatures and reliance on renewable energy.

The announcement, made in a speech to a high-level climate change summit in Abu Dhabi, comes during a week of international climate conferences in a bid to cut future warming emissions that have scientists warning of dire consequences such as massive sea level rise, loss of millions of acres of the world’s coastal lands and desertification.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the oil-rich UAE, is one of the world’s largest carbon emitters, and the emirate and its Gulf neighbors have ramped up renewable energy development in recent years. It last hosted the climate conference in 2011, when the United States, after a long hiatus, played a leading role in a broad global agreement to reduce future climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

“The UAE today is an advocate for sustainability. We are facing a rapidly changing climate,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, said at the opening ceremony of the summit. “We have a choice, between whether we will choose to follow the Paris agreement and collaborate with our partners to safeguard our environment or turn our backs on it and to lose.”

“In the next five years we must deploy 100 percent renewable energy, we have a choice whether to decarbonize our energy use or to turn our backs on the issue and we will do both,” he said.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE will launch a national “carbon pricing” system by 2020, with a strategy to phase out fossil fuel imports by 2050. He pledged to reach 25 percent of renewable energy production by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.

“Climate change is a global threat, that all countries must work together to solve,” he said. “The United States has a special responsibility and I am pleased to see how the U.S. commitment will make a difference.”

He said the UAE will “introduce a more fair and just international carbon pricing system” to cut down emissions and to slow global warming. “It’s essential that nations adopt a coherent framework to accelerate their climate action and address the urgent challenges in a way that can avoid a global temperature rise by 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels,” he said.

In 2007, the U.S. pledged to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020, but the White House and Congress have failed to deliver on that promise amid resistance from industry groups. At the same time, U.S. emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have soared faster than those of the rest of the world.

President Donald Trump has said the Paris Agreement is unfair to the United States, and he is seeking to end U.S. participation. The administration has said it will continue to honor part of the agreement’s goals to cut emissions through 2020, the first year of the accord.

In his speech, Sheikh Mohammed also took aim at the nuclear deal with Iran, which he said did not address the “real threats of destabilizing weapons.”

“We have no intention to emulate the failed process that created a nuclear weapon in Tehran, and we will reject any excuse to stop or impede the advancement of renewable energy,” he said.

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