Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri at the Majlis

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has emphasised the importance of looking beyond energy and industry when thinking about reducing carbon emissions. 
“If we are to achieve our Net Zero by 2050 goal, we must tackle the other major contributors to our carbon footprint. For example, food systems account for up to 33% of total global emissions, and worldwide, agriculture is the single largest user of freshwater,” she told sixth national Majlis session in the run-up to COP28 hosted in Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. 
The participants discussed the pivotal role of decarbonisation in the UAE’s journey towards achieving its Net Zero goals and what innovative solutions are needed. 
Pivotal role
Almheiri praised the UAE's pivotal role in global climate action adding that the UAE was the first country in the region to announce its goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. This vision is now being implemented by the recently launched “UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategy”, which will reduce the country’s emissions in six main sectors: energy, industry, agriculture, waste, transportation, and construction. 
She highlighted the key role played by the private sector in achieving decarbonisation, stating that the UAE is looking forward to achieving remarkable progress following the plans outlined in the Strategy. 
She commended the companies that signed the Climate Responsible Companies Pledge as part of the “National Dialogue for Climate Ambition” initiative which aims to achieve climate neutrality in the various targeted sectors. COP28 will start in just over a week and will be an opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise on how we can find solutions to decarbonisation, she said. 
Almheiri highlighted Ras Al Khaimah’s Water Reuse and Efficient Irrigation Programme and Energy from Water programme, both outlined in its Energy Efficiency & Renewables (EE&R) Strategy 2040. She said: “These are two pioneering examples of initiatives that address the impact our food, waste and water systems are having on the planet. Emirate-level initiatives like this play a vital role in achieving the country’s ambitions, and we need to think about how these can be scaled up to national level.” 
Investment in clean energy
“Our investment in clean energy and new technologies across all sectors is helping to accelerate our transition to a low-carbon economy. From job creation to partnerships and educational prospects, the opportunities that decarbonisation presents are sizeable. If we can work together, we can realise the full extent of these benefits for people and the planet sooner,” she concluded. 
The series consists of eight sessions that are being held ahead of COP28 in the UAE later this month. The attendees comprised local climate leaders and experts from the government, private and academic sectors, and other key sectors.
The session was moderated by Muna Alamoodi, Director of Climate Change Department at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. The Majlis was attended by Dr Saif Al Ghais, Director General of the Environment Protection and Development Authority in Ras Al Khaimah, Eng Ismail Hassan Al Balushi, Director General of the Ras Al Khaimah Public Transport Authority, and Heba Fatani, Director General at Ras Al Khaimah Government Media Office.
The Majlis was also attended by climate leaders from MOCCAE including, Eng Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector, Eng. Othaibah Al Qaydi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector, and Shaikha Ahmed Al Ali, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Regions Sector.
Sustainable future
Dr Al Ghais thanked MOCCAE for organising the COP28 Changemakers Majlis, which reflects the Ministry’s commitment to continuously communicate with government agencies, the private sector and society to participate in the country’s efforts to create a sustainable future.
He pointed out the importance of constant efforts to remove carbon and reduce emissions in targeted sectors. He stressed the need for carbon sequestration or carbon dioxide sink technology, which is a biological or artificial reservoir that collects carbon dioxide for an indefinite period. He said that the concerned entities in the UAE and the private sector are always ready for dialogue and discussion with the Ministry to enhance progress towards achieving the goals of the UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategy.
Eng Al Balushi said enhancing the awareness of youth and community members directly contributes to achieving decarbonisation. “They should adopt a sustainable lifestyle, which will help the UAE take a step forward in the green transformation process in multiple sectors, including transportation. It is necessary to have sustainable projects in the UAE that enhance the sustainable lifestyle of community members, to serve as an impetus to undertake more relevant projects.”
Sustainable cities
Almheiri highlighted the UAE’s efforts in shifting towards building sustainable cities and encouraging society to adopt more sustainable behaviours in consuming energy and water. She stated further expansion into building more sustainable cities in the future will contribute to reducing resource consumption and emissions.
Fatani underlined the vital role of the media in exchanging information and data between federal agencies, such as MOCCAE, press offices and media outlets in educating society and sheding light on the projects and strategies of the UAE towards achieving Net Zero by 2050.
Interactive discussions
During the Majlis, the attendees reviewed ways to decarbonise various vital sectors, including energy production and energy-intensive industries such as cement.
They stressed the need to enhance flexible policies and laws that allow the private sector to invest more in decarbonisation and carbon sequestration technology in these industries.
Almheiri said the UAE, in addition to enabling carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology, is working to deploy nature-based solutions that act as natural carbon reservoirs underpinned by the UAE’s goal of planting 100 million Mangrove by 2030. 
The Majlis highlighted the need to find solutions for fuel alternatives and to create UAE standards and disseminate their use across various industries. This will reduce waste and emissions simultaneously. 
The participants referred to the Hajar Mountains in Ras Al Khaimah and their importance in extracting the clean hydrogen of the future. The Majlis also reviewed ways to remove carbon from the maritime transport sector in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE. They said that this requires cooperation among many federal and local authorities in each emirate, in line with the latest international standards and in a way that enhances the UAE’s position in this strategic sector.--TradeArabia News Service