x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Plans to create Abu Dhabi’s climate change strategy discussed

Senior representatives from government ministries and companies meet to discuss climate change strategy.

ABU DHABI // Government bodies have gathered to discuss plans for a climate change strategy that would help to cut harmful emissions.

Organised by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, or Ead, Tuesday’s meeting was the first step in drafting a plan of action, to be introduced between next year and 2018, that will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released and help adapt to climate change.

Senior representatives from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, the Urban Planning Council, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and the ministries of environment, energy and foreign affairs were among those taking part.

Eva Ramos, a director at Ead, said the wide representation was necessary to ensure Abu Dhabi takes meaningful steps to solve the problem.

“We must catalyse action to mitigate and adapt to climate change across all relevant economic and social sectors,” Ms Ramos said.

“Environmental organisations alone cannot deliver the scale of change required.”

Changing to low-carbon energy and utilities, managing the demand for energy, and reducing the carbon footprint of transport systems, buildings and industry were priorities, the workshop was told.

Those present also detailed priorities to help protect Abu Dhabi against the expected effects of climate change.

Ead will spend the next two months in individual discussions with the groups involved in the workshop, said Ms Ramos.

“The idea is that we will engage with entities so that we agree on targets and initiatives,” she said.

A strategy document should be ready by the end of the year. It will have to be approved by the concerned groups as well as the Abu Dhabi Executive Council before its measures are put in place.

“We hope the first initiatives will start in 2014,” said Ms Ramos.

The Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Abu Dhabi, released by Ead in May, says the emirate emits 47.62 tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent for each head of population a year.

This refers to emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, and nine others that contribute to global warming.

Energy services, road transport, and aluminium, iron and steel production are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the emirate. The study reflects Abu Dhabi’s emissions for 2010.

Because of plans to expand its industrial base, total emissions are expected to rise in future.

But the Government hopes to reduce per capita emissions through more efficient use of fossil fuels.

“There is a desire to contain emissions but also a desire not to hamper economic development,” said Ms Ramos.

vtodorova@thenational.ae