Business Council Event

As Climate Impacts Accelerate, UAE and US Strengthen Cooperation

July 31, 2023

By Majid Almutawa, Senior Political Affairs Specialist

In recent weeks, unprecedented heatwaves hit North America, Asia and Europe, forest fires engulfed parts of the Mediterranean, and droughts threatened crop yields across the US. Climate impacts are accelerating, and so must the global response.

Climate change isn’t a distant issue. It’s here now, and it’s becoming increasingly personal for each of us. Just last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented that, “the era of global warming has ended” and “the era of global boiling has arrived.” As a diplomat representing the UAE, a coastal nation in one of the warmest regions, I’m proud to be supporting my country’s efforts to advance climate action.

Over time, the focus of COP has evolved from negotiation to implementation. COP28 is embracing this spirit, calling on people across sectors to deliver solutions and drive outcomes. Last week, I joined COP28 Director-General Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi in Washington, DC for meetings with the Biden Administration, members of Congress and key stakeholders to discuss this vital area of cooperation with the US. During these meetings, Ambassador Al Suwaidi briefed his counterparts on the UAE’s new strategy for COP28 and sought input on key issues. Moreover, Ambassador Al Suwaidi shared details about the COP28 schedule of thematic days, and encouraged NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders to participate.

Ambassador Al Suwaidi reiterated the UAE’s commitment to working closely with the US to speed the energy transition, expand renewables and enable progress at COP28 when he met with Administration officials, including Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Investment Amos Hochstein and Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Sue Biniaz.

The UAE is a longstanding US partner, increasingly so around climate action. Late last year, for example, the UAE and the US launched the Partnership for Accelerating Clean Energy (PACE), which will catalyze $100 billion in financing to deploy 100 new gigawatts of clean energy by 2035. We also co-lead the AIM for Climate initiative, which now includes 50 countries and 500 partners working together to advance sustainable agriculture. These are in addition to UAE-based Masdar’s 11 clean energy investments in projects across the US, such as the Big Beau solar and battery project near Los Angeles.

These are great examples of the kind of collaboration we hope to see more of this year at COP28. Based on a six-month listening tour with diverse groups across five continents, the COP28 Presidency recently announced plans to mobilize action around four pillars:

  • Fast-tracking the energy transition;
  • Fixing climate finance;
  • Focusing on adaptation to protect lives, livelihoods and nature; and
  • Ensuring an inclusive process.

As daunting as climate change is, UAE-US cooperation and the UAE’s holistic approach to COP28 are bright spots that give me hope about our collective ability to overcome this challenge together. I look forward to seeing what other promising solutions emerge as the world comes together in Dubai at COP28 this November.