Yesterday the halls of COP 18 in Doha were abuzz because of an announcement by the UAE during the meeting of the ADP. The Gulf state announced concrete actions it would be taking in order to do its part in reducing climate change.
UAE sets to impress
The UAE announced that they will open a 100 megawatt (MW) plant this year using Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), while also preparing for another 100 MW using Photovoltaics (PV).
This is exciting news considering that the UAE belongs to a set of countries that have not historically been responsible for comparatively large total emissions. The Arab world in specific is currently only responsible for a fraction of total world emissions and is still flagged as a developing country region.
The UAE has already been one of the more active countries in the region in renewable energy. In recent years it has shown a drive to improve its infrastructure in many regards and the energy generation sector is no exception.
The examples to this are numerous, such as increased solar energy (including a solar roofing pilot program), and wind energy generation adapted to the weather of the region. Several mass transit projects, such as the Dubai and Abu Dhabi metros, and the countrywide rail system, are underway. Following through in the transportation sector, several gas stations in the capital are involved in the initial phases of a drive to retrofit vehicles to use liquid petroleum gas.
ECO hopes this latest announcement in COP18 foreshadows much more to come. ECO remains cautions, however, since the UAE announced as well that it would be adopting nuclear energy and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in order to reach its mitigation goals. CAN does not condone this last announcement and would strongly encourage the UAE to disregard this path and instead focus on their very promising renewable energy mix.
The UAE would do itself and he world a great favor by voluntarily pledging to commit to reducing climate pollution and by pledging its already existing mitigations actions. Such a gesture will cement the UAE's active stance on climate and hopefully encourage other countries to take similar pledges, and will push developed countries to take binding commitments.
This message has already being communicated to them by the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) and Greenpeace.
ECO remains hopeful that this move by the UAE can serve as a catalyst for change.