Speed and scale: The UAE's advantage in the low carbon transition
Jeffrey Beyer shares his view at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week's World Future Energy Summit
The low carbon transition is underway. This is a huge opportunity for the UAE, especially this year in the lead-up to COP28. But to maximise the opportunity, and limit the worst effects of climate change, the scale and speed of the transition needs to double - then double again.
Scale and speed are two things that the UAE does well. It has the world's largest solar park, among the richest sovereign wealth funds, the tallest building, and this year, will hold the largest-ever UN Climate Change Conference. Since its founding in 1971, the UAE has developed faster than almost any other country in history.
Supercharge clean hydrogen and green finance
The UAE can leverage its national character to supercharge clean hydrogen and green finance.
For hydrogen, the UAE is in a prime position. It can use its low-cost and abundant renewable power, proximity to demand centres, stable investment environment, and existing industry expertise to be ultra-competitive globally. In the coming weeks, the UAE Department of Energy will release its hydrogen policy and the Ministry of Energy and Industry will release its hydrogen strategy.
For green finance, the UAE is fast becoming a regional sustainable finance leader. Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) released its Sustainable Finance Declaration in 2019 and launched the Sustainable Finance Forum. The ADGM Academy launched the region's first Certificate for in Sustainable Finance, and just six weeks ago, ADGM launched a public consultation on the region's first Sustainable Finance Taxonomy.
How to turn ambition into action
Zest Associates takes these opportunities seriously. We have authored two landmark studies on how to accelerate these two industries, in partnership with HSBC, the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, and the World Green Economy Organization.
It's time to turn ambition into action, time to dig below the headlines and get into specifics. Learn what the priorities are to move clean hydrogen forward. Find out what tools should be used in each GCC country plus Egypt and Iraq to accelerate green finance.
This will be a year for the UAE to lead on climate action. The country is to go big and go fast to harness the opportunities of the low carbon transition.
Jeffrey Beyer is founder and managing director of Zest Associates, a UAE-based sustainability consultancy