Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 August 2020

Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting: talks pave way for landmark September summit

Follow the latest updates as world leaders gather to demand a rapid transition to the green economy

The two-day meeting in the UAE capital brought together more than 1,700 government ministers, business leaders and experts from the private and public sector from 160 countries.

They are assessing the progress made in implementing the goals set by the 2015 Paris Agreement and the challenges ahead.

Here are the updates from day one

Below is all of the latest news from the meetings on day two in Abu Dhabi:

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Closing remarks: Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting paves way for New York

Two days of discussion on climate change have paved the way for a landmark summit in New York in September, meeting leaders said.

But there is a still a lot to do, and ambitions for the meetings must be raised, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said.

Plans to tackle climate change must include specific sectors, consider social aspects, and local action must be complemented by national action, she said. Financing of climate projects should also be addressed, she said, saying it is urgent that developed countries meet their commitments under the Green Climate Fund.

"We are all together in our battle against climate change," Ms Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, UAE Minister of Climate Change and the Environment Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi reiterated his belief that climate action is the best business opportunity around.

"I know we leave Abu Dhabi more determined than ever to make 2019 the year to focus on the economic opportunities of climate action," he said.

Both leaders praised the inclusion of the youth in the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting.

Ms Mohammed praised the youth for attending and contributing to every session and even calling world leaders out for inaction or hypocrisy.

The Deputy Secretary General said that applications for the Youth Climate Summit in New York in September were open. She announced that there will be 100 carbon neutral places funded by the UN for young people around the world to attend the summit.

"We have greatly benefited from having young delegates here," Dr Al Zeyoudi said.

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Red Cross chief: World needs strong leadership to cope with natural disasters

The world must be better prepared to withstand the health effects of natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, the Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross Elhadj As Sy said on Monday.

Natural disasters are becoming "more frequent, more severe" and the world needs "strong political leadership" to adapt.

"People should be able to withstand shocks and hazards" of natural disasters Mr Sy said. Women and elderly people are disproportionately affected by these disasters, he said.

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WHO Director General: Funding for climate health risks remains 'alarmingly low'

The World Health Organisation Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom said that financial support for mitigating the health effects of climate change remains "alarmingly low".

"The same activities that are harming the planet are also harming people," he told the summit in a video message.

"The delay in the transition from low carbon clean development has left people around the world exposed to health risks," Dr Tedros said. Those on island nations or developing nations are particularly affected, he said.

Dr Tedros thanked the UAE for featuring the health aspects of climate change so prominently in Monday's meeting, pointing out that it is too often marginalised.

Every minute 40 people will die prematurely from air pollution, a World Health Organisation representative said.

Fears over the low funding of health foundations tackling air pollution were echoed by Jane Burston, the managing director of the Clean Air Fund, who said it was vastly underfunded relative to the size of the problem.

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Deputy UN Secretary General: We need positive vision of climate change

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - July 01, 2019: Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed speaks. Climate and Health MinistersÕ Meeting. There will be three sections: air quality, climate-induced disasters and weather events, and financing approaches for the health-climate nexus. Day 2 of Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting. Monday the 1st of July 2019. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed at the Climate and Health Ministers meeting. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, points to the increase in young activism on climate change.

Putting out a positive message of climate change is the best way to make an impact, she said.

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UAE Environment Minister: We have undersold health effects of climate change

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment speaks at the Climate and Health Ministers meeting. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said that climate advocates have been underselling the health aspect of climate change.

When he began working in climate change, he said, the narrative focused on a moral obligation to animals and the planet.

"We have undersold a much more powerful political narrative: people's health," he said.

The costs of climate change are so high – more than seven million deaths a year from air pollution – he said, pointing out that taking action is relatively cheap.

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UAE ministers meet British Development Minister Rory Stewart

Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Reem Al Hashimy, the Minister of State for International Co-operation, met the UK's International Development minister in Abu Dhabi.

The talks touched on Sudan, Yemen, Syria and climate change, Mr Stewart said on Twitter.

The meeting comes the day after Mr Stewart addressed the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting, pointing to the UK's commitment to be net carbon neutral by 2050.

Read our interview with Rory Stewart here

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Day Two to focus on climate change and health

Monday's meetings will focus on the intersection between climate change and health.

The Director General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi and the Minister of Health Dr AdbulRahman Al Owais will co-chair a panel on how climate change will affect air quality and lead to more natural disasters.

Later, there will be a dialogue between youth delegates and chairs of the round table discussions in which young people will air their concerns and discuss the role they can play to resolve the climate crisis.

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Guterres tours Noor solar plant in Abu Dhabi

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres toured the world's largest solar power plant in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, as the first day of the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting drew to a close.

The Noor solar plant is "the kind of clean & efficient solution needed to address the global climate emergency," Mr Guterres wrote on Twitter.

The plant started operation on Saturday and will reduce Abu Dhabi's carbon emissions by one million metric tons – the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.

Read more about the plant here

Updated: July 1, 2019 11:07 PM

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