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COP28 a critical moment in the history of climate action: University of Sharjah Chancellor

COP28 a critical moment in the history of climate action: University of Sharjah Chancellor
23 Nov 2023 08:26

LAMIA AL HORMOODI (SHARJAH)

Dr. Hamid Majul Al Nuaimi, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, confirmed that the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be a pivotal moment in the history of climate action.
There, the world will evaluate the progress made on the Paris Agreement targets, contributing to the coordination of climate action efforts, including identifying measures that must be taken to bridge the gaps in implementing actions.

In exclusive statements to Aletihad, Al Nuaimi said that the COP28 Presidency will ensure the world responds to the global assessment by setting a clear action plan to accelerate the pace of work to achieve goals, especially since the changing climate is the main factor of the continuous and severe shortage of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide, which leads to the release of lethal hydrogen sulfide. This could lead to the extinction of more than 95% of marine organisms and a significant portion of humans, animals, and even plants, he said. 

Al Nuaimi stressed that climatic and carbonic pollutants are increasing, threatening the present and future of the planet. These threats could grow in the near future unless collectively and cooperatively confronted in a timely manner by formulating practical joint steps and solutions with voluntary implementation commitments, especially considering the magnitude of the danger posed by climate change and its implications for food security and energy security. This is what the UAE will focus on at COP28, he said. 

“Today, everyone is waiting for COP28, to be held at the end of this November, and its results to solve climate change problems. It is expected to be one of the strongest conferences held on climate change issues, especially in solving problems arising from climate change. COP28 represents an important opportunity for the United Arab Emirates to achieve political and economic returns for the state and the region on both regional and global levels, including finding realistic, scientific, and practical solutions to accelerate the global energy transition and appropriate climate actions,” Al Nuaimi said. 

The conference will aid in driving the global transition towards a low-emission, climate-resilient world, enhancing ambitious climate action, and facilitating implementation, including the various forms of necessary adaptation and implementation support, he explained. 

COP28 will focus on four paradigm shifts: the rapid tracking of the energy transition and reducing emissions as soon as possible; transforming climate finance through fulfilling old promises and setting a framework for a new deal on financin;  placing nature, people, life, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action; and mobilising for the most inclusive COP in the conference’s history. 

Regarding the role of the University of Sharjah and its participation in the conference, Al Nuaimi said: “The university will participate at COP28 through its scholars, professors, and students attending the conference sessions, scientific events, and innovation and youth initiatives. 100 students are participating in the ‘Road to COP28’ event, in youth debates on prominent climate topics, and in the sustainability market, with the participation of youth, productive families, and people of determination. They are also participating in training workshops on climate change and its resulting damages, the university climate network, and a network of UAE universities working on addressing climate change, in addition to the Centre of Excellence for the use and storage of carbon in the UAE.”

He added: “The University of Sharjah is part of the team working on establishing a centre of excellence for the use and storage of carbon in the UAE to serve the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and the Middle East and North Africa region. The centre will help accelerate the development and deployment of important technology related to net-zero commitments by 2050. The University of Sharjah will participate in the green zone through preparing demonstration projects on energy transition and climate changes, such as innovative carbon removal technology that includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, hydrogen use, cleaning fossil fuel combustion, and carbon removal from heavy industries.”

Regarding the University of Sharjah’s most important initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change on campus and climate action at the national level, Al Nuaimi said: “The University of Sharjah joined other higher education institutions from many countries of the world by signing the climate emergency letter and agreed to implement a three-point plan: firstly, the commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest; secondly, mobilising more resources for scientific climate change research with scientific and practical orientations and skill qualification; and thirdly, increasing the provision of environmental education and sustainability across curricula, campus, and community awareness programmes.”

He noted: “The University of Sharjah has maintained first rank in terms of sustainability in the UAE, according to the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking of world universities, for the sixth consecutive year (2017-2022). It is the first Arab university to receive the Gold Rating from the organisation that follows, assesses, and classifies sustainability, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.”

He added: “The University of Sharjah signed the membership declaration of the Global Green Matrix Network at the National Workshop on Green Matrix World Universities Ranking and the Global Sustainable Campus Tour in Moscow, and the university also ranked first in the country in the QS World University Rankings, and it has been a member of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) since March 2018.
“The University of Sharjah’s sustainable campus contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building infrastructure, green spaces, and building management through building design that provides a comfortable environment for all community members by creating and expanding open spaces between buildings and increasing the proportion of green spaces.

“The university also works on energy management by adding units to measure comprehensive consumption areas and identifying causes, transitioning to clean energy as much as possible, finding solutions to reduce consumption and replace traditional devices with environmentally friendly and energy-saving ones, and water management by adding water-saving taps and using recycled water for irrigation and purifying tap water for drinking purposes, in addition to waste management and recycling through recycling programmes on campus, including paper, plastic, and metal cans.”

Al Nuaimi confirmed that the university is working on offering sustainability and renewable energy programmes and research projects, and offers a bachelor’s degree in Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering, an average of 600 enrolled students. 

The university also has a dedicated budget for sustainable research, and over the past three years, about 1,800 sustainability research papers have been published in international journals, in addition to many campus publications and UAE publications, he said.

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