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UAE an inspiring model of the new green economy, says GASP Secretary General

UAE an inspiring model of the new green economy, says GASP Secretary General
28 Nov 2023 08:41

MUSTAFA ABDEL AZIM (ABU DHABI)

The UAE hosting the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), which will be held November 30 to December 12, confirms the country’s pioneering role in leading the sweeping global sustainability transformation, said Satya Tripathi, the Secretary General of the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet (GASP).

In an interview with Aletihad, Tripathi explained that the UAE today presents an inspiring model for many similar economies around the world. Despite its status as an oil-based country, its current economic model relies heavily on the non-oil economy and the shift towards a new green economy through major investments in clean energy and the broad adoption of the circular economy.

‘’COP28 will bring many gains for all, as it embodies the extent of the global commitment to continuing to address climate challenges, and what we can do through cooperation and joint efforts. In addition to that, it will highlight the UAE’s efforts to showcase its vision on climate action, and its pursuit to reach carbon neutrality through adoption of clean and renewable energy, as well as its ability to build long-term partnerships during the conference that will enhance and support the ecosystem, that is already thriving in the United Arab Emirates,’’ said the GASP Secretary General.

Regarding the coalition’s view on the UAE’s climate action efforts, Tripathi said that in addition to the UAE’s possession of the capabilities and resources, it also possesses the determination to play a major, prominent, and influential role in climate action, as demonstrated in its volunteering to host COP28.
‘’I believe that the conference will offer the UAE a great opportunity not only to present an exceptional edition of the Conference of the Parties, but also to present an inspiring model for everyone, and to create change and build partnerships,’’ he added.

Tripathi said that he considers the scarcity of ideas or investments is not in itself the main obstacle to the flow of financing for climate efforts in emerging economies.

Rather, this hinges on the combined efforts of all stakeholders, cooperation among multilateral networks, the private sector, governments, and donors to attract innovative capital and create meaningful partnerships capable of achieving positive climate outcomes across the entire system, he noted.

‘’I believe that financing can play a key role in accelerating climate action efforts. Financing can also play a very constructive role, if we are able to create the right model for investment, which contributes to the flow of money in this direction. If you look at traditional investments, and how they function in traditional economics and money flows in the direction of ideas that are actionable, which gives investors a certain level of confidence. If you can do that with sustainable finance and climate-related investments and projects, money will flow in that direction. So, I think we need to create a kind of confidence in climate-related projects where the returns are very promising, not only in terms of economic returns, but also in terms of social and environmental returns.

Although it seems difficult, especially in the initial stage, but with progress and highlighting some success stories, financing flows will eventually address these investments,’’ Tripathi said.

He also noted that while estimates indicate that there is soon to be a $4.5 trillion financing gap to achieve carbon neutrality, and although the funds are not currently available, the important point is finding a place to start targeting the greater goal of carbon neutrality and preserving the planet.‘’It is like we are in a race, like the Olympic races, when the winner gets the gold medal, that doesn’t come without effort, but rather began with learning, training, guidance, persistence, support, and fatigue to reach the goal. I would not worry much about what we should become, but I would worry more about starting the journey. Once it starts, we will reach our goal if we have the determination and will. According to the International Monetary Fund, the climate investments needed to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation, are enormous, estimated to reach $4.5 trillion annually by 2030 and rise to $6 trillion annually by 2050. Today, only $632 billion is spent annually, and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future requires collective action and strong partnerships among multiple stakeholders. This means unlocking finance from public and private finance and strengthening financing for climate action in developing and emerging market economies. The problem lies in the fact that 77% of the sovereign credit ratings of developing economies are classified as non-investment grade, which is therefore associated with higher risks,’’ he added.

‘’There are also significant gaps in information regarding opportunities, investor’s risk appetite, and investment impact. The Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet, which is based in New York, is dedicated to catalysing partnerships and transformative ideas by partners from governments, international organisations, businessmen and global investors, to address the most pressing challenges in the world, with climate action at the forefront,” Tripathi concluded.

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