The Government and industry have welcomed the Cop21 accord to cap global warming, saying the UAE negotiated strongly and left more assured of a renewable future.
"For the UAE, the conference as a whole was a great success and we got what we needed,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, head of energy and climate change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Dr Al Zeyoudi said the agreement, which was reached in Paris on Saturday night, achieved the UAE's three goals – it was signed by all countries involved, set ambitious plans and allowed for flexibility, which was a key factor for the negotiating team.
The UAE delegation argued for allowing countries to commit according to their circumstances and abilities.
The alternative would be for 195 countries to adhere to the same commitments – from developed countries in colder climates to smaller developing island countries in the tropics.
"I encourage everyone, developed and developing countries, to work together,” Dr Al Zeyoudi said. "Our main objectives are already met.
"What we want from such an agreement is actually mutually beneficial to our plan of diversifying our economy.”
The UAE had already planned to achieve the accord's goals before the summit by providing 24 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2021.
The accord commits countries to reset "national determined contributions” for carbon emissions every five years, by which time technological advances could mean better results.
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, chief executive of Masdar, said that the agreement showed the viability of renewables.
Since 2006, the company has invested Dh6.24 billion in clean energy and research.
"If the watchword in our industry leading up to Paris was ‘commitment', with this historic accord the next phase will be all about ‘action',” Dr Belhoul said.
"Now is the time for governments, business and citizens alike to turn their climate pledges into tangible projects and initiatives.”
He said the Paris agreement supported the UAE's position on all important items regarding finance, co-benefits of economic diversification and response measures.
"History has been written,” said Ivano Iannelli, chief executive of Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence. "Virtually every country has agreed on ambition, finance, mitigation and transparency among many other themes that have never seen such a convergence.
Mr Iannelli said the conference was an achievement for the UAE, but in particular he commended the job the negotiators did.
"We congratulate France for the efforts towards the climate accords and the efforts of our own UAE team of negotiators who have worked relentlessly until the early hours to ensure that the UAE is well positioned to lead our society towards the future,” he said.
Those who have criticised the Cop21 agreement said that it did not go far enough to tackle the world's environmental problems.
"While our political leaders walk, our movements run, and we must keep running,” said Kumi Naidoo, international executive director of Greenpeace.
"We came to the Cop with hope. Not a hope based on the commitments we wished our leaders would make, but a hope built on movements that we have built together with many others.”
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week next month will be the first global environment focused event following Cop21.
Source :The National