UAE minister says governments should frame pro-growth, pro-climate policies

Bengaluru, 7 Feb: The UAE, India’s fourth largest supplier of crude oil, on Tuesday made a pitch for policies that hold back emissions but not progress as it saw hydrocarbons continuing to play a significant role in meeting global energy demand for some more years to come.
UAE’s Minister for Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Al Jaber, speaking at India Energy Week, said policies should hold back emissions, not progress.
In his first international visit since his appointment as President-Designate for COP28 UAE, he made the case for a pro-growth, pro-climate agenda to support an inclusive energy transition that leaves no one behind.
Energy transition refers to the global energy sector’s shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption – including oil, natural gas and coal – to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, as well as lithium-ion batteries.
Speaking at India Energy Week here, Al Jaber noted India’s strong recovery from the pandemic and that the world’s fastest growing major economy was dealing with the central question of how to embed sustainable, environment-friendly growth into its development model.
“As India’s economy surges, it is dealing with the fundamental question that the whole world faces. How to adopt policies that are pro-growth and pro-climate at the same time. How to provide for a world that will consume 30 per cent more energy by 2050, while protecting our planet. In short, how to hold back emissions, not progress,” he said.
He made the point that the size of the challenge was matched by the size of the economic opportunity. Noting the significant rise in investment in renewable energy in recent years and India’s drive to add 500 GW of clean energy by 2030, Al Jaber said the UAE was keen to partner with India and the world on advancing clean energies.
“Last year, despite an ongoing war, fears of recession and a world still recovering from COVID, annual global investment in clean energy exceeded USD 1 trillion for the first time. And the trajectory is only going up. Most of this new growth will be driven by the dynamic economies of Asia,” he said.
India’s target of 500GW of clean energy by 2030 is “very ambitious, but also very achievable.” “The UAE is ready, willing and able to partner with you,” he said. “We have spent the last two decades diversifying our energy portfolio. We have invested in nuclear, we are investing in hydrogen and we are expanding our global renewable energy footprint to at least 100 GW by 2030. (PTI)
And we need everyone on this journey with us, so that together we can triple global renewable energy capacity over the next 7 years.” Al Jaber reiterated that policies should take into account the fact that too many people, particularly across the global south, still have no or very limited access to energy. “Their needs must be met as we transition to a new energy system and accelerate progress on all aspects of the climate agenda.” “To succeed, when the debate around climate change only seems to be getting more divisive, we must act in solidarity and unity. We must empower the Global South, where almost 800 million people have no electricity, in an inclusive energy transition. We must eliminate energy poverty… And we need to move from talking about goals, to getting the job done.
“That is why we are calling for COP28 to be a COP of Action and a COP for All. This is the decade where we must stop deliberating and start delivering across mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and loss and damage. The size of this challenge is immense, but so is the opportunity,” he said.
The COP President Designate underlined the complexity of the energy transition as a system-wide rewiring of global economies and noted that despite the impressive growth of wind and solar power, renewable energy by itself would not be sufficient, particularly to transition hard to abate industries.
“Without a breakthrough in battery storage, we must invest heavily in carbon capture, nuclear power and the hydrogen value chain. But spending on these fundamental enablers of decarbonization are less than 5 per cent of what is spent on renewables. This must change. And when it comes to change, this also applies to the oil and gas industry.
“The world still needs hydrocarbons and will need them to bridge from the current energy system to the new one. We cannot unplug the current energy system before we have built the new one. As such, we must minimize their carbon footprint, only invest in the least carbon intensive barrels and continue to reduce their intensity,” he said. PTI