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Masdar chief: Everyone is on board with climate change

Masdar Masdar
Masdar CEO Mohamed Al Ramahi said mainstream acceptance of climate change has helped the renewables firm on its expansion journey
  • Masdar plans $200m investment in developing countries by 2030
  • Adnoc CEO says Cop28 summit must ‘leave no one behind’

Once viewed with scepticism, the discussion around climate change and securing a sustainable energy pathway to net zero has now become the accepted mainstream view, according to the CEO of Masdar.

Founded 16 years ago, the UAE-owned renewable energy firm has a presence in 40 countries, with a capacity of 20gw, made up of operational projects or those under construction, secured or committed.

At a panel discussion at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), Mohamed Al Ramahi said: “Our ultimate objective is to grow our capacity in the next seven years up to 100gw.”

He added that today’s level of climate change recognition was an alien concept when he first joined the renewable energy giant.

“When Masdar started, people would laugh at us,” he said. “They would say, ‘what are you doing?’ That was the case not only for our region, nobody knew. 

“People were still thinking, ‘what are they talking about?’ when scientists said the ice is melting and the sea levels are going to rise. Today everyone believes climate change is real.”

Acceptance and inclusion has helped Masdar on its expansion journey. “It’s never been easy, but the momentum and commitment are there,” said Al Ramahi.

Masdar is a partner in the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing Platform, the money arm of the International Renewable Energy Agency, aimed at mobilising capital to scale up funding in developing countries by 2030.

Following an agreement signed at Cop27 in Egypt last year, Masdar intends to contribute a potential investment of up to $200 million in the programme and joins founding partner Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), which has already anchored an investment of $400 million.

Also on the ADSW discussion panel was Agnès Pannier-Runacher, minister for energy transition in France which, as an EU member has committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

“[The commitment] is demanding but it will push us to accelerate into investing and to send the right signals to the private market,” Pannier-Runacher said.

“We believe this is the right plan if we want to be ready by 2030 and to be at net zero carbon by 2050.”

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, who was last week named president of Cop28, this year’s UN climate summit to be held in Dubai, said at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum this weekend that finance reforms were needed because the world was “way off track” to reach the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Al Jaber, also CEO of state-owned oil giant Adnoc, said he wants Cop28 to be “practical” and “leave no one behind”.

Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO of oil field services company Baker Hughes, said partnerships between the public and private sector were crucial to deliver success.

“Technology will not be the obstacle – we’ve been involved in hydrogen since the 1960s, and in compression for over 80 years,” he said. 

“But we need the right government policies and NGOs understanding of what it actually means to have a decline in emissions versus going from emissions to no emissions.”

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