A delegation from the United Arab Emirates participated in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) coordination meeting in the context of climate change, in Vienna, Austria, held from 27th-28th July 2015.
The meeting focused on the latest developments in international climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which are expected to deliver a new agreement in Paris, France, in December 2015.
Over the two days, participants discussed how OPEC countries could ensure that their collective interests are reflected in the new agreement, with a particular focus on issues relating to the energy sector and possibilities for incorporating carbon capture and storage (CCS) into the new agreement.
The UAE delegation was led by Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and included delegates from the Ministry of Energy and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.
"The UAE was one of the key driving Parties to the UNFCCC, which successfully negotiated the inclusion of CCS into the clean development mechanism – which is the main market mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol," said Dr. Al Zeyoudi. "We, along with our OPEC partners, hope to see the conclusion of a successful new agreement, which supports our continued sustainable development, as well as our economic and energy diversification."
The UAE is continuously making improvements in the energy sector's efficiencies. The UAE was the first country in the region to ban gas flaring in 1995, making its production as one of the most carbon efficient in the industry. The UAE has also been pioneering the CCS technology as a key tool to mitigate CO2 emissions to curb climate change. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Masdar are initiating the region's first utility scale carbon capture project.
The meeting also discussed energy matters addressed under the on-going negotiations at the United Nations on global goals and targets for sustainable development to 2030. The UAE has been a strong advocate for addressing energy as a key enabler for development. While access to modern energy is not a domestic issue, the UAE has undertaken many initiatives to increase energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in its domestic energy mix.
OPEC was established in 1960, with the mandate to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its members, and ensure the stabilisation of oil markets. OPEC comprises of 12 members: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates