COP28 President-Designate, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, has concluded a two-day trip to China, where he held a series of bilateral meetings, including with Ding Xuexiang, First Vice Premier of China; Zhao Chenxin, Vice Chairman of the NDRC; HE Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment; Xie Zhenhua, Special Envoy for Climate Change; and Dr Zhang Jianhua, Director of the National Energy Administration. Dr Al Jaber also met and addressed students at the prestigious Tsinghua University Institute for Carbon Neutrality, where he highlighted China’s leadership in renewable energy development and highlighted its unique capacity to enhance South-South cooperation on climate action.
Building on the strength of the UAE-China strategic partnership, discussions focused on partnerships around practical, concrete efforts in the run-up to COP28 for a step change to help achieve transformational climate progress. Given the size of China’s economy, and its leadership position in advancing clean technologies, the country’s potential to promote sustainable low carbon economic growth is immense.
“Given the size of China’s economy and the scale of its development of renewable energy and decarbonization technology, China provides a good model for sustainable economic growth and the global energy transition. Over the past five years alone, China has been responsible for adding more than 40% of the world’s new solar and wind power capacity and has set a very ambitious target of deploying 1,200 gigawatts of renewable capacity by the end of this decade.”
Dr Al Jaber highlighted that both the UAE and China were committed to diversifying their energy mix and pursuing pragmatic solutions to the climate crisis. He added, “The partnership between the UAE and China will be a key asset to the COP28 Presidency as we seek innovative solutions to boost industrial decarbonization, expand access to clean technologies, and ensure a just energy transition.”
Dr Al Jaber met with clean tech entrepreneurs in a private sector roundtable and also addressed an audience at the Tsinghua University Institute for Carbon Neutrality, which covers energy, sustainability and climate-related disciplines. With the world needing to reduce global emissions by 43% by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, countries will need a range of technology solutions to meet their decarbonization goals, the COP28 President-Designate stated.
“We cannot accomplish our climate objectives without significant adoption and development of technology for decarbonization. We need to explore every available option. It is not renewables or hydrogen or nuclear or carbon capture or only using the least carbon-intensive oil and gas. It is all of the above, plus new technologies yet to be invented, commercialized and deployed,” he stated.
“As a global leader and valued partner to emerging market economies, China is already making significant contributions to enhance South-South climate action. China’s support will be critical for us to deliver pragmatic, practical action on the road to COP28 and beyond.”
In his meeting with Chinese business and industrial leaders, Dr Al Jaber continued to advocate for investment in industrial decarbonization. He said, “Steel, cement, and aluminium, like energy or manufacturing, are the industries that run the world. We simply cannot stop using them. But we do have to find a way to make them more sustainable. We must reduce emissions, not progress. We have to work with industry leaders to bring them on board as partners, and to source the solutions together.”
Dr Al Jaber also hailed the strength of the partnership between the UAE and China as a model of cooperation toward sustainable, low-carbon growth and prosperity, “Partnerships will be key to making COP28 a COP of Action, and a COP of solidarity, unity and impact. We need China, as we need all countries and Parties, at the table to meet the Paris goal of keeping global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We need a major course correction and a massive effort to reignite progress. And I look forward to working with China to deliver a successful COP28,” he stated.