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Landmark UAE Consensus becomes defining framework for all countries to keep 1.5°C within reach, ensure global implementation

Landmark UAE Consensus becomes defining framework for all countries to keep 1.5°C within reach, ensure global implementation
12 Feb 2024 17:36


The COP28 Presidency’s UAE Consensus, a historic set of measures outlining a firm plan to keep the average global temperature rise below 1.5°C, has become the defining point of reference for global climate ambition and sustainable development.

Speaking at the World Governments Summit in Dubai, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President, noted that the UAE Consensus gives clear direction to all countries to keep 1.5°C within reach.

He added that parties must now transition to adopt follow-up steps to ensure global implementation.

“If this agreement is to get traction, we need serious action,” Dr. Al Jaber said, “Now the hard work begins.” He continued, “We need to show that an unprecedented agreement can be turned into unprecedented action. We are what we do, not what we say.”

Dr. Al Jaber was part of a panel on “Delivering the UAE Consensus Globally – From Agreement to Action,” along with the International Monetary Fund President Kristalina Georgieva, Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, COP29 President-Designate Mukhtar Babayev, and the ministers of environment for Jordan and Bangladesh.

The COP28 President discussed the different transformative achievements of the unprecedented agreement, the critical factors to deliver success and unprecedented action, and what still needs to happen to keep 1.5°C within reach.
Since its inception at COP28, held in Dubai in December, the UAE Consensus has emerged as a defining element of the multilateral climate framework, proving that multilateralism can still work, even at a time of high geopolitical tension. “We rose above geopolitics to make progress for the planet and all people,” Dr. Al Jaber said.

With inclusivity as its guiding principle, COP28 was a success. The UAE brought the spirit of the majlis, which allowed everyone to share on equal terms, and leveraged its relationships with key players—US, China, India and OPEC plus. It also created the $30 billion ALTÉRRA fund, the first private investment fund to focus entirely on climate solutions.

The UAE Consensus is now recognised as a landmark agreement reaffirming the UAE's position as a global leader in the international climate and development agenda, and more broadly in multilateral settings.

“While there is still a lot of work to do, the consensus laid out a clear roadmap for keeping 1.5°C within reach by delivering a set of world firsts across the climate agenda,” Dr. Al Jaber said. He continued, “To keep 1.5 within reach, we need to double down on tangible action.”

Under the UAE Consensus, all Parties committed to an unprecedented agreement to transition away from fossil fuels for the first time in COP history. They set time-bound targets to expand renewable energy with a goal to triple global capacity, end deforestation, and double energy capacity by 2030. Dr. Al Jaber called for “all Parties who signed the UAE Consensus to meet their commitments and honour their obligations.”

The UAE Consensus operationalised and began financing a fund to address Loss and Damage. As a first for inclusivity, it established a Youth Climate Champion for all future COPs.

The UAE Consensus called for all industries to leverage their technology, talent, and balance sheets to decarbonize, and it established climate finance as a critical success factor in achieving climate objectives. It also pushed the oil and gas industry to step up, with 40 percent of global oil production committing to zero methane emissions by 2030 and net zero by or before 2050.

The COP28 Presidency also created a meaningful Action Agenda, which centred on fast-tracking a just and orderly energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, nature, lives and livelihoods, fostering inclusivity, and bringing the energy sector to the table.

“We must keep the political momentum and COP continuity going,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “Progress is powered through partnership. Action is sustained through solidarity."

To encourage continuity, the UAE is launching the COP Presidencies Troika with Azerbaijan and Brazil, officially linking COP28 with the presidencies of COP29 and COP30. Emphasizing the importance of this collaboration, Dr. Al Jaber said, “The troika will maintain momentum, lock in continuity, and anchor implementation.”

“We must use every milestone on the road from Dubai to Baku to Belém to double down on action and turn rhetoric into results,” he said.

Countries must now follow through by enhancing Nationally Determined Contributions, reducing economy-wide emissions, and increasing climate investments.

Following through on climate finance will also be a critical success factor. “Finance is the key enabler across the entire climate agenda,” Dr. Al Jaber said. The New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance will be a critical deliverable for COP29.

They need to fully capitalize Loss and Damage, reform international finance institutions, and leverage the private sector to triple clean tech investments to $4.5 trillion annually by 2030.

To achieve these objectives, governments must adopt a clear mindset shift to significantly transform climate challenges into opportunities and create a new low-carbon model of socio-economic growth, with new industries and new jobs.

During the panel, Dr. Al Jaber also addressed his position as CEO of ADNOC. He noted that his experience across all forms of energy was an asset and his ability to bring the energy sector to the table made the action agenda more meaningful. He noted that ADNOC is aiming for net zero by 2045.

The world needs to get to net zero by 2050. Dr. Al Jaber said, “The journey to get there will happen in different places at different paces. In a transition that will take time, maintaining energy security with the lowest carbon intensity is critical.”

Dr. Al Jaber highlighted that this was the first COP that agreed to transition away from fossil fuels. “The results really do speak for themselves,” he said.

“Polarisation and pointing fingers do not drive progress,” Dr. Al Jaber said. “Solidarity and unity do. That is the lesson of COP28.”

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