ABU DHABI, 6th August, 2023 (WAM) — Edward Hobart, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the UAE, affirmed his country’s support for the UAE hosting of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) and UK’s active participation and engagement in the UN climate conference.
‘’In COP28, we think that the UAE is a great country to be hosting it, understands energy, has a long history in energy, has a long history in renewable and clean energy including nuclear. So, it has an example it has set and we need to bring more countries with us. But it’s a huge challenge,’’ said Edward Hobart in an interview with Emirates News Agency (WAM).
He spoke about the UK’s vision of the importance of COP28 and its role in bringing about a quantum leap in global climate action as one of main areas of joint cooperation between the two countries.
On UK’s participation at COP28, Edward Hobart said:’’ There will be a very strong British participation at COP28. We’ve been strong contributors at all COPs up to the one that we chaired two years ago in Glasgow. So we’ll have many of our leaders as well as British companies, British investors, British scientists and experts contributing to COP28.’’
The UK, he indicated, chaired COP two years ago in COP26 and I think every year this becomes more important. The climate emergency has to be addressed. So, we really have to focus on reducing emissions, increasing mitigations, helping countries adapt, and providing the financing to do all that, and this is a key part for COP28.
‘’It is a huge challenge for the world, for the UAE to lead that process and we want to do whatever we can to support it. To support it we need to increase renewable and clean energy, and as a target we’d like a bold target to maybe triple renewables by 2030. We have to reduce emissions, and just like the UAE has just published its own commitment to net zero, its refined commitment, we need countries around the world, the big emitters to put out what are called ‘NDCs’, (Nationally Determined Contributions) to reduce those emissions.
‘’ We have to phase out unabated fossil fuels, while at the same time providing alternative and energy sources. And we also need to address the countries which had been affected right now by climate change through development assistance. All of this requires a huge amount of finance. There’s no reason why businesses can’t get involved in investing private money in order to make money and be commercially driven by it, but we need to provide the right incentives,’’ he added.
On UAE-UK energy cooperation, the UK Ambassador said:’’ The UAE has been investing for over a decade in the UK in renewable energy and they are investors in major wind farms, offshore wind farms, the London Array, wind farms in Scotland, and floating high wind farms off the coast of Scotland. The UAE has also invested in battery storage in the UK, and the UK and the UAE have both invested in each other’s countries in hydrogen projects. So there’s a lot of cooperation that we have together as well as in third countries where our businesses and governments work together to help other countries through their own energy transitions.’’
‘’The UAE has been a major player in renewable energy for a long time. Their offshore wind and battery head offices are actually in London. So they run their global operations on wind and batteries out of London because we have technology and investments that we share between the UK and the UAE. They have some really interesting investments, I mentioned hydrogen, BP and ADNOC invested in Teesside in the north east of England and here in Abu Dhabi, but also some really interesting innovations. So, Octopus Energy from the UK and Taqa from the UAE investing in Morocco in a British company called Xlinks with the ambition to bring solar and wind energy from Morocco to the UK – three and a half thousand kilometres of cable to do that. So some really important innovations. We intend to do the same hopefully in other parts of the world but we can help them through their energy transition.”
Regarding UAE-UK’s initiatives at COP28, the UK diplomat explained: ‘’Certainly, there will be bilateral initiatives I’m sure with the UAE, as well as UK initiatives on things like nature. We want to make sure that we bring a huge funding to nature based solutions because this is a flipside, is that part of the mitigation to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is insuring that we have the right vegetation on the ground. So mangroves is a very important project that we work jointly on with Emirati organisations, developing and sustaining forests around the world and supporting indigenous groups of people that understand how to do that.’’
‘’As well as looking after small and developing states, whose very existence is threatened or who find themselves affected by severe climate change in terms of climate events like hurricanes in the Caribbean. So, nature-based solutions, how we protect those communities and those areas which had been most immediately affected by climate change is a really important additional area for the UK to work on with the UAE. I think we’ll also work with the UAE on food security. We’re hosting a conference in London on the 20th of November to help lead up to COP28 where there’ll be a food security element there as well,’’ he concluded.