ABU DHABI, 6th November, 2022 (WAM) — One of the most complex challenges in the global climate change debate is the perceived gap between the interests and obligations of developed and developing countries.
At the heart of the debate are two fundamental questions. Who is affected by climate change and who is responsible for it?
Developing countries tend to feel climate impacts the most, largely due to their vulnerable geography, reduced capacity – economic, infrastructure and access to technology – combined with the fact that they often lack the infrastructure to withstand storms, drought and other climatic phenomena such as rising waters. levels.
Historically, the blame for climate change rests with developed nations – those that have emitted greenhouse gases largely unhindered since their industrialization in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Today, however, several developing countries are themselves major carbon emitters. To catch up economically, they have relied on affordable but carbon-intensive fossil fuels. This inevitably complicates reaching a global agreement on climate change.
So how do you help developing countries retain their emissions but not progress?
For the UAE, this means becoming an active, willing and vocal investor in the developing world, where most of the 750 million people who currently lack electricity reside.
The UAE is actively increasing funding for clean technologies and climate solutions, through public-private partnerships and, in many cases, direct grants to the most vulnerable countries and communities.
The UAE is one of the world’s largest donors of humanitarian aid and has moved quickly to help countries hit by natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, such as Pakistan, which experienced flooding earlier this year. historical events resulting from heavier than usual monsoon rains and melting glaciers. The United Arab Emirates has directed humanitarian relief flights to the beleaguered country.
The UAE has been at the forefront of climate development assistance over the past decade and a half. It has provided $1.5 billion in grants and concessional loans to more than 40 countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where renewable energy offers the opportunity not not only to reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels but also to stimulate economic development and create jobs.
The UAE has helped install dozens of solar, wind and battery storage projects in the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and other developing countries. These include a solar power plant in Tonga providing almost a fifth of the island’s annual electricity needs, and the Port Victoria wind power project in the Seychelles, which until now relied entirely on diesel fuel. imported.
Unveiled in 2008, the $3 million Zayed Prize for Sustainability recognizes local projects in food, energy, water and health – issues at the heart of the climate change challenge – through awards to small and medium enterprises, non-profit organizations and secondary schools.
To date, ninety-six recipients of the Prize have improved the lives of approximately 370 million people, directly or indirectly, around the world, the majority in countries vulnerable to climate change.
At COP26 in Glasgow, the United Arab Emirates and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched the $1 billion Accelerating Energy Transition Financing (ETAF) platform, a global mechanism climate finance to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in developing countries.
The experience of the United Arab Emirates shows that public-private financing can give a boost to local renewable energy industries. At the same time, he understands that climate action requires a holistic approach.
With food systems responsible for about a quarter of all global carbon emissions, the UAE and the United States launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Initiative (AIM4Climate), also in Glasgow. The joint initiative will accelerate investments in climate-smart agricultural technologies and food systems innovation.
As world leaders now head to Sharm el-Sheikh for this year’s UN climate change conference, developing countries are looking to richer countries to invest, share knowledge and better understand their challenges. in mitigating and adapting to the effects of global warming. They will find a committed partner in the UAE.