Invest in renewable energy to tackle climate change: Panel - GulfToday

Invest in renewable energy to tackle climate change: Panel


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Investing in renewable energy is the way to go from the remaining months of 2020 and towards post-COVID19 relative to climate change.

However, these investments in alternative sources for “electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation and rural energy services” must be combined with well-formulated policies as well as widespread awareness programmes and education opportunities.

These were the points raised at the “Tackling the Climate Emergency with Climate Finance” panel discussion organised by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) on Tuesday morning.

At the virtual forum was Ministry of Climate Change and Environment-Green Development and Environmental Affairs Department-Air Quality Management Section head Fatima Al Hammadi. She said that similar to the reports of institutions across the globe on the drastic drop of the density of air pollution when governments collectively imposed restrictions on movements in relation to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19), data collected from 26 stations in various parts of the UAE, including data from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre had revealed of a “great” reduction of the “ambient concentration of pollutants” such as carbon dioxide and specifically nitrogen dioxide at 45 per cent in both densely populated and industrial areas, between January and June and second week of March, respectively.

She mentioned that a draft law on climate change is being worked on with the intention of sharing this with neighbouring countries.

Moderated by EEG chairperson Habiba Al Mar’ashi, the panel discussion was not only held with COVID19 as the backdrop but also because on Oct. 16, 2019, 30 so-called “titans” in the global business setting was formed by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres as the UN Global Investors for Sustainable Development. These are from Germany, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Colombia, US, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, UAE, Italy, Australia, Japan, China, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, Brazil, Sweden and Switzerland. These are tasked to find ways to increase the positive impact of business activities and align these with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; deliver solutions to unlock long-term finance and investment in sustainable development within companies and across systems; and mobilize additional resources for states and sectors in need.

Mar’ashi believes the private sector which she had described as “large consumers of energy and producers of harmful emissions” could and must financially assist “countries meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement” of 2016 whereby 195 signatory governments pledged to resolve the harsh effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Featured at the forum was Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) chairman Dr. Nassir Saidi. CEBC consists of 70 members, a non-profit organization (NPO) registered at the Masdar City in Abu Dhabi that promotes in the Middle East and North Africa clean and renewable energy technology and solutions, energy efficiency and smart grid.

Saidi said that among the learnings from COVID19 is the positive impact on the environment for which governments and private individuals as well as non-government organisations and NPOs must see the value of renewable and alternative sources of energy.

He believes households and businesses would be enticed to decrease their usage of high-carbon and fossil fuel-charged appliances and vehicles, or replace these with more energy efficient ones, if supported and provided with incentives by governments and authorities.

Saidi was asked by Mar’ashi on how wealthy nations could help their poor counterparts particularly in the region move forward and towards the decline of environmental degradation.

He pointed out that aside from the COVID19 factor, stakeholders must give weight on the social-political-economic turbulences in some of the countries, as well. He said almost everyone and almost all sectors queue in for financial assistance even as the International Monetary Fund has been open to such including debt relief-which he believes is a big boost to those in need at these times.

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