The Gulf oil and gas exporter is going big on renewable energy investment and food security, while expanding hydrocarbon production.
If there was a sign the United Arab Emirates is taking its role as host of the next UN climate talks seriously, the 1,073 delegates it registered to attend the Cop27 summit in Egypt would be it.
The Persian Gulf petrostate came out in force in Sharm el-Sheikh with the second largest delegation in the history of climate summits, including 70 oil and gas lobbyists – a flavour of what is to come.
The UAE takes on the UN climate talks presidency from the Egyptians at the end of November next year, when it hosts Cop28 on the site of the Dubai Expo.
The Emirates are seeking international clout as the Gulf’s most proactive nation on climate action. It was first in the region to set a 2050 net zero goal. And at Cop27, it became the first to announce absolute emission cuts, instead of from a hypothetical business-as-usual baseline.
But its plan includes expanding oil and gas production, which is incompatible with limiting global warming to 1.5C. The UAE has pitched its role as providing the world with reliable and low-carbon intensity oil and gas for decades to come.
“The UAE is known as a responsible supplier of energy and will continue to play this role as long as the world needs oil and gas,” president Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan told the leaders’ summit at Cop27.
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