Oil-rich Abu Dhabi to mobilize climate action at UN Climate Summit

Abu Dhabi Ascent Summit, Climate talks Abu Dhabi, Middle East, climate change, green economy, UN General Assembly, New York, UN Climate Talks, government, business, mitigating climate changeAbu Dhabi will host high level talks in advance of the UN Climate Summit in New York later this year. Albeit one of the world’s largest oil producers, which also had the highest environmental footprint per capita for three years in a row, the Emirate continues to assert itself as a leading voice for dramatic environmental change.

The latest in a string of decisive measures to mitigate environmental destruction while boosting the green economy, the upcoming Abu Dhabi Ascent is a high level meeting designed to encourage leaders of governments, businesses, finance institutions and civil society to mobilize in support of more assertive actions to address climate change.

To be held from 4-5 May, 2014, these talks will act as a primer for the The Climate Summit slated to take place on 23 September, 2014 at the UN Headquarters in New York, one day before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s General Assembly begins its General Debate.

“The UAE initiative to host the Abu Dhabi Ascent is an important concrete contribution to the Summit,” said UN Secretary General in a recent press release.

“This meeting is a critical milepost on the way that will help build the momentum we need for a successful Climate Summit.  I look forward to working with all leaders to ensure that the Summit catalyzes major steps on the ground and towards an ambitious global climate agreement.”

While in a better place financially than many other nations thanks to its substantial fossil fuel wealth, Abu Dhabi has demonstrated through a series of initiatives both at home and abroad it is not only necessary but also economically, environmentally and socially beneficial to invest in clean energy and other carbon mitigation strategies.

Critics may point out that its own populace still relies heavily on fossil fuels, but Abu Dhabi is pressing really hard to diversify its energy mix, support ambitious local and international startups that are researching and developing groundbreaking renewable energy initiatives, create a friendly legislative environment to support such sweeping changes, and bring leaders from the public and private domain together in such massive events as the recent Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

Many of these climate meetings result in endless talking and precious little change, but Abu Dhabi – given their own proactivity with the Shams 1 CSP Plant, investments in global clean energy projects as far afield as London and the Seychelles, and a host of other genuine measures that strengthen their long-term resilience in the face of climate change and peak oil – is in the unique position to act as a leader in real action.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, the most recognizable face behind Abu Dhabi’s commitment to a greener but still prosperous future, acknowledges the emirate’s efforts to support clean energy technology across the globe.

He adds that, “The high level meeting in Abu Dhabi will be integral in encouraging and enhancing commitments from the public-private sectors and ensuring the Summit in New York is a success.”

Abu Dhabi’s leadership hopes that the upcoming summit will not only pave the way for more efficient talks in New York later this year, but also set the stage for improved negotiations at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015.

Aerial image of Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi / Shutterstock

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