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Al Jaber optimistic about world’s clean energy goal

  • Al Jaber is Cop28 president designate
  • Wants 11TW of clean energy by 2030
  • ‘85% of the world’s economy’ on board

Cop28 president designate Sultan Al Jaber expects the Cop28 climate summit to reach conensus to treble clean energy sources to 11 terawatts by 2030, he told an assembly at the Climate Future Week in Dubai on Saturday.

Speaking at the event, part of a countdown to Cop28, Al Jaber stresssed the need to keep global heating within 1.5C, emphasising the goal is the summit’s “North Star”.

Al Jaber emphasised the importance of expanding clean energy, as the world aims to transform its current energy system and decarbonise the economy to limit global warming.

“Earlier this year everyone was telling me that it is going to be mission impossible and, guess what, I’ve got the full support of the G20, the full support of the EU, and of the African Union,” Al Jaber said. “It represents 85 percent of the world’s economy today.”

“The fact that we’ve got the world united around this target will be a big win for Cop28,” Al Jaber said told the assembly.

Cop28 is being held in Dubai from November 30 until December 12.

The meeting will be the first formal comprehensive review of countries’ progress on cutting emissions since the Paris Agreement in 2015 and will discuss the fresh climate targets and ways of fighting global warming.

One of the key pillars of the Cop28 action agenda is to fast-track the energy transition. The biggest frictions remain around the best way of doing it, without putting energy security and affordability at risk. 

Previous climate summits have failed to reach agreement and deep divisions remain between countries that support the expansion of fossil fuels and those that want to stop it.

Al Jaber reiterated that while the phase-down of unabated fossil fuels is inevitable, global clean sources of energy must be phased up to address the world’s current energy needs. 

He warned that it is a long process and cited the example of the UAE, which started to diversify its economy away from oil and gas 20 years ago.

Al Jaber pointed out that the current global energy system consumes the equivalent of 250 million barrels per day of oil: 100 million bpd of oil, 70 million bpd equivalent of gas and 80 million bpd equivalent of coal. 

“Those who have the solution that will allow us to shut down the current energy system and establish a new one with a flick of a switch, please share it with me,” he said. 

He added that enabling a complete overhaul of the energy business requires private and public capital. His plan also includes doubling energy efficiency and developing the hydrogen value chain.

“It is going to take time,” he said.

“We need to run towards energy transition and to embrace this new economy,” said Razan al Mubarak, a UN climate change high-level champion for Cop28 and International Union for Conservation of Nature president.

“I have been engaging with businesses, investors, cities, regions, and civil society. The private sector is ready today but we need a regulatory framework. We can’t do it without enforceability.”

Improving inclusivity

To keep global warming under 1.5C, the world needs to cut 22 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions.

In her role, al Mubarak has been also advocating for nature-positive climate action.

“Cop28 will be a pivotal moment to elevate nature as a critical lever to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement,” she said, adding that the world needs to look at the whole carbon cycle, not only the emissions. 

“Natural systems are able to provide a third of our mitigation requirements by 2030, but they have been completely negated from discourse and from negotiations over the last 26 Cops,” she said. While we are seeing closer alignment between the climate and nature agenda, we urgently need to scale implementation.

Al Jaber stressed that climate change is a global threat and needs to be addressed by everyone. 

“The UAE assumes responsibility of hosting Cop28 with humility and a deep sense of urgency to deliver a future-proofed world for us all. Keeping 1.5C within reach is our responsibility, but we can’t do it on our own.”

He added that the UAE Cop28 presidency tailored an agenda to reach a result-driven outcome: “Our objective is to turn agreement into action.”

“We need a whole-of-society approach to address climate change and drive a just systems transformation,” added al Mubarak. “This is why inclusion has been the cornerstone of the Cop28 presidency.”

“It is time to put indigenous peoples, women, and youth at the forefront of climate action and at the design of the climate solutions that we need,” said al Mubarak.

“Climate change will impact all of us. The discourse that this is not happening is dead.” 

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