x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 November 2017

A step towards sustainability

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a chance to take the Paris Agreement a step farther

The 10-megawatt solar farm on the outskirts of Masdar City. (Karim Sahib /AFP)
The 10-megawatt solar farm on the outskirts of Masdar City. (Karim Sahib /AFP)

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is different this year, not least because it takes place only a month after the COP21 meeting in Paris. The legally-binding global climate deal adopted by 195 countries set out a comprehensive global action plan to limit global warming and prevent the risks associated with climate change.

Until the Paris Agreement comes into force in 2020, the world’s eye will be on events like Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which officially starts today and is bringing experts and visitors from more than 170 countries to the capital to discuss important issues related to renewable energy, water security and sustainable development. Many world leaders, non-government organisations and private investors will have the opportunity to share experiences and strengthen cooperation.

Another reason specific to the UAE for the importance of this meeting is that it takes place at a time when low oil prices mean we face increased pressure to transition from a hydrocarbon-dominated economy to a more sustainable one based on renewables and other high-tech industries.

High-profile meetings will take place throughout the week, including the sixth meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency and the World Future Energy Summit. The Zayed Future Energy Prize organisers will also announce the winners to recognise their innovative contributions.

These events will contribute to the global discourse regarding global warming and climate change, but will specifically benefit the UAE as it develops its research to devise increasingly efficient renewable technologies.

The country is already leading the way through Masdar, which continues to host and invest in multimillion renewable energy projects to diversify its energy supply away from hydrocarbons. As Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of Masdar, said: “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is an important reflection of the UAE leadership’s economic and energy diversification goals.”