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UAE launches think tank to drive net zero 2050 ambitions

Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan heads new green think tank
  • UICCA is climate action entity for public and private sector
  • UAE has invested more than $50bn in renewable energy projects

The launch of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA) was announced on Tuesday to drive the UAE’s commitment towards net zero by 2050.

The UICCA is a non-partisan, climate action entity that will bring together members of the public and private sector, including academic institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).   

In the lead-up to the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28 UAE), which is set to take place in Dubai, the UICCA will establish an independent body that enables collaboration, cooperation and innovation.

The UICCA, which will be led by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, will operate as a think tank and predominantly focus on providing advice and recommendations to stakeholders on positive climate action that facilitates the transition to a green economy. 

The accelerators will also facilitate international business, innovation and technology partnerships that work towards the common goal of tackling climate change.

The main sectors of focus will include electric mobility, sustainable fuels, energy efficiency, green buildings, smart cities, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions, and a growing agtech and climate tech segment. 

“It is an honour to be tasked by the leadership of the UAE with building and driving the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators,” Sheikha Shamma, executive director of UICCA, said.

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“Our goals as a nation are clear, and we have made significant headway towards implementing the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.

“However, this is only our first milestone; it’s the synergies we create today that will allow us to live a more sustainable future, far beyond 2050.  

“The only way for us to do this is by enabling and energising an ecosystem that actively participates in realising one shared vision, and the UICCA is the nucleus that will bring this ecosystem to life.”

In June UAE president Sheikh Mohamed joined heads of state from 17 economies accounting for 80 percent of global gross domestic product, population and greenhouse gas emissions at an online meeting. 

During the meeting, hosted by US president Joe Biden, the UAE ruler said the Emirates had invested more than $50 billion in renewable energy projects across 40 countries and plans to double that over the next decade. 

He stressed that climate change is an issue of “grave importance” that must be addressed through global cooperation and collaboration. 

Earlier this month, the UAE also launched its first Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge in a bid to boost the private sector’s role in helping the country achieve its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

More than 21 UAE-based companies have so far signed up to the pledge, unveiled by the Emirates’ Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment (MoCCAE). 

“The UAE’s net zero pledge is hugely ambitious,” Jim Krane, energy research fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told AGBI at the time. 

“Given the tight time frame, the government is right to be moving quickly to get the private sector on board. This is a great step in the right direction.

“Government policy will create the framework for climate action, but it will be private companies and individuals who make the needed changes in behaviour and technology.”

On the same day that the MoCCAE announced its pledge, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) announced that it had selected 15 companies to participate in a new scale-up programme.

It will support the growth of impact-driven businesses that align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Five out of the 15 companies are focused on combating climate change including environmental issues, tackling food waste, GHG emissions, sustainability reporting, and waste management. 

DMCC currently offers up to a 30 percent discount on licences to any company that becomes a member of the UN Global Compact to fight climate change.

Who is Sheikha Shamma?

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Sheikha Shamma, CEO of Alliances for Global Sustainability

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and published author, Sheikha Shamma is CEO of Alliances for Global Sustainability, founder of the Circle of Hope foundation and co-founder of Aurora50.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, holding a Masters degree in Sustainability Leadership, she is a well-respected industry expert on sustainability.

Alliances for Global Sustainability identifies, develops and invests in high-performing ventures and provides advisory services for global sustainability in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Projects include recycling ventures, renewable energy projects, smart city development and advisory services.