To lots of people, Dubai might sound a doubtful selection for a local weather summit.
It owes its very existence to grease cash. To not point out energy-hungry air-con. Temperatures can attain 50C (122F) within the desert in summer time.
It is one thing that would assist focus the minds of delegates from 198 nations as they arrive within the United Arab Emirates for COP28.
This yr’s COP president, Dr Sultan, who can be head of the state oil firm ADNOC, needs them to give attention to one thing else: the UAE as a frontrunner within the transition to low-carbon vitality.
The small confederation of Arab monarchies is among the world’s largest oil and gasoline producers however has been spending a great chunk of that wealth on clear vitality.
By one estimate it is invested round $200bn (£157bn) globally in photo voltaic, wind and different renewable vitality initiatives.
At house, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned renewable firm Masdar has simply accomplished the biggest single-site photo voltaic plant on the planet.
ADNOC has introduced ahead its pledge to succeed in net-zero emissions to 2045 – not from the oil and gasoline it produces – however the vitality it expends extracting and transport it to clients.
However, earlier than the worldwide climate talks had even begun, Dr Sultan was forced to respond to reports that, as hosts, they had been planning to make use of a summit about chopping emissions to chop offers with different oil producers.
That may very well be dismissed as “false” and “unfaithful”. What’s more durable for the UAE to disclaim is that its important funding in renewables is dwarfed by its spending on oil and gasoline.
“The fact is the world wants vitality,” stated Mussabeh al Kaabi, director of low-carbon options at ADNOC.
A dedication to phasing out fossil fuels – a key ask of most of the 198 nations represented at COP – is not up for dialogue.
“For those who have a look at the vitality demand development from now till 2050, you are speaking about 20% minimal further demand,” he stated.
“The problem now could be how will we obtain these 2050 targets of web zero with a extra sensible, pragmatic manner,”
Pragmatism at COP is required. A truth not usually mentioned amongst environmentalists is that 80% of the world’s vitality nonetheless comes from fossil fuels – and emissions are the very best they’ve ever been.
That, regardless of 28 years of local weather summits.
One motive for the dearth of progress is fossil fuel-dependent economies have constantly blocked it.
As hosts of COP, the UAE, which is allied with many main oil producers, may assist affect them: Across the local weather science that informs the local weather summit course of and requires net-zero emissions by 2050, for instance.
“I strongly imagine that they are often met,” says Mussabeh al Kaabi.
“Let’s not underestimate human innovation. After we come collectively, we act. Let’s not underestimate when there’s a clear and current hazard.”
Stark language from an oil govt. However till emissions begin falling, and falling quick, the hazard is rising.
The UAE needs to make use of its presidency to inject pragmatism into the local weather talks, however except it might probably assist the decision to part out fossil fuels – in addition to speed up clear vitality – it is exhausting to see how COP28 will be known as successful.