The Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting, the precursor to the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit, concluded today with a clear agreement that 2019 offers a perfect opportunity to embrace a new era of economic growth spurred by a global collaborative investment in climate action.
Ministers from around the world presented their countries’ plans to adopt green policies to overcome the challenges to achieving the scale and speed of climate action required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As speakers took the stage in the UAE capital, the consensus was that in 2019, climate action is about people, not just the planet. It will advance economic prosperity, create new jobs and industries, and improve the health of the most vulnerable people.
In his closing remarks, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “In our discussions, we have made progress on energy – we’ve identified that today offers the best investment case in recent history to make progress outside electricity. Our experience – here in the UAE and through our aid for renewable energy projects in other developing countries – shows that in every single case, solar and wind, even with batteries, have been cheaper than diesel.
“On health, we’ve agreed that in 2019, climate change is not just about the environment: it is about people. The factors affecting the climate are also affecting our health. It is imperative to align the climate change and air pollution agendas.
“On green finance, we need a new focus on funding the proven interventions that should be applied more widely – early warning systems, healthcare facilities powered by green energy, and investment in crops and livestock to mitigate the impact of CO2 on nutrition levels. And on our NDCs – to update them and incentivize the public and private sectors, philanthropic and civil society partnerships that will ensure progress and commitment.”
He added: “This meeting has helped us galvanize ourselves to go further in partnership than we would go alone. We leave the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting more determined than ever to make 2019 a year to focus on the economic opportunities of climate action. Let’s keep the momentum going until New York in September and beyond.”
In her closing remarks, UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed said: “I would like to thank the UAE for its hospitality, but also for taking concrete actions and demonstrating the ambition to combat climate change.”
She added: “Climate action should be everyone’s business. We need to focus on solutions that will yield the greatest impact. As we look ahead to the Climate Action Summit in New York, we aim to ensure the youth play a critical role - we must empower young people and make sure their voices are heard.”
The Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting aimed to define the agenda, discuss the issues, and draft recommendations and resolutions that will be presented and acted upon at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, set to place in September in New York. Over 2,000 delegates from the ranks of the UN leadership, ministers, as well as representatives of the public and private sectors presented and evaluated hundreds of plans. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, who attended the event, intends for this meeting to drive global climate action and motivate the whole world to get on board for concerted climate action now.