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UAE minister urges trade to reduce environmental impact

Al Zeyoudi trade climate change Creative Commons/World Economic Forum
Al Zeyoudi said global trade must 'act with conviction and urgency to ensure supply chains are sustainable, equitable and environmentally responsible'
  • Trade must aid fight against climate change, says Al Zeyoudi
  • Freight transport accounts for 7% of global emissions
  • UAE committed to net zero by 2050

Trade is the “lifeblood” of the global economy but it needs to urgently play a part in the fight against climate change, a UAE minister said on Wednesday.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister of state for foreign trade, conceded that global trade “has one of the biggest contributions to make” to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Speaking during the Climate Future Week in Dubai, he said: “Trade remains the lifeblood of the global economy. It creates jobs, raising living standards, enhances knowledge and promotes innovation.

“But we must now ensure that it continues to offer all these benefits while limiting its impact on the environment.”

The International Transport Forum estimates that international trade-related freight transport currently accounts for around 30 percent of all transport CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, and more than 7 percent of global emissions.

It adds that the carbon-intensive trucking road freight share of total international trade-related emissions will grow from 53 percent in 2010 to 56 percent by 2050.

Al Zeyoudi said: “We must act with both conviction and urgency to ensure our supply chains are sustainable, equitable and environmentally responsible.”

In March Al Zeyoudi told an event in London that any trade agreements the UAE signs are part of the “ultimate” goal for the Emirates to connect 90 percent of global trade flows by 2027.

Al Zeyoudi pointed out that Dubai’s Jebel Ali Port is home to the region’s first green warehouses, where cold storage facilities run on solar energy. It also includes a fully-automated solar-powered container stacking system.

The UAE has expressed a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It is hosting Cop28 in November, where there will be a day dedicated to the role of global trade in addressing the climate challenge.

In 2021, the Danish shipping giant Maersk ordered the world’s first methanol-enabled container vessel following a commitment to the principle of only ordering new-built vessels that can sail on green fuels. 

Two years later, the global order book for methanol-enabled vessels standards stands at around 100.

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