“Navigating the Energy Transition: COP28 Host UAE Acknowledges World’s Unpreparedness to Divest from Fossil Fuels

The United Arab Emirates told at the upcoming U.N. climate change negotiations, which it will host in December, that the countries should agree to phase out fuel emissions, not the production of oil, gas, and coal. 

The comments echo deep discussions between the nations over how to fight global warming ahead of COP28 talks. Some wealthy Western governments and climate-tormented island nations have been pushing for a phase-out of fossil fuels, whereas resource-rich countries have campaigned to keep drilling. 

Fossil Fuels
Fossil Fuels

UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri said that extinguishing fossil fuels would hurt countries that depend on them for earnings or can easily replace them with renewable sources.

She favored extinguishing fossil fuel emissions using capture and storage technologies while enhancing renewable energy, saying that this strategy allows countries to fight to warm while continuing to produce oil, gas, and coal. 

Almheiri said on the sidelines of the Agriculture Innovation Mission ( AIM) for Climate conference in Washington that” the renewable space is progressing and accelerating extremely fast. Still, we are near to saying we can switch off fossil fuels and solely depend on clean and renewable energy.”

She added, ” We are now in an evolution, and this evolution needs to be precise and pragmatic because all the countries do not possess resources.” 

The UAE is co-hosting the AIM conference with the United States.

Although they did not set a firm date this month, G7 countries agreed to hasten their phase-out of fossil fuel consumption.

Almheiri pointed out the example of the UAE relying on the new carbon capture technology and renewables to decrease the emissions of the OPEC – members’ oil and gas operations.

Moreover, she added that the UAE aims to get 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2050 from the current level of 25% and could strengthen that goal. 

Almheiri added that, alongside energy, the global food supply would also be a significant concern of COP28, comprising nearly a third of the global emissions. 

She said that tackling food inefficiencies of the global system can also help address problems like food waste, malnutrition, and climate change all at once. 

She concluded, ” We are ensuring that the food systems dialogue is on center stage along with the energy dialogue at COP28.”

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