Prof. Jukka Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), praised the UAE’s economy, highlighting that it is less than 20% reliant on fossil fuels. According to him, this achievement positions the UAE as a leading example in the Gulf region in terms of reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the international official emphasized the significance of the UAE’s shift away from fossil fuels in addressing the challenges of climate change. He stated, “Nations should start replacing fossil fuel energy sources with climate-friendly ones, as the UAE has done.”
Speaking about the global economic implications of climate change, Prof. Taalas referred to the World Economic Forum’s recognition of climate change as a serious economic issue. He stressed the need for action to mitigate or adapt to climate change within the next ten years to avoid significant threats to the world economy. He also mentioned the UAE’s upcoming hosting of COP28, highlighting its relevance to addressing climate change.
The World Meteorological Organization’s annual report revealed alarming trends, including increased rates of ocean warming, accelerated snow melting, doubled sea level rise over the past two decades, and a rise in climate disasters such as heatwaves, floods, and tropical cyclones in various regions. Prof. Taalas identified water scarcity, droughts, and forest fires as significant challenges to human life. However, he acknowledged the progress made in the adoption of electric vehicles, affordable batteries, and other strategies to combat these challenges.
While the world has initiated efforts to combat climate change, Prof. Taalas expressed concerns about the pace of action to limit global warming to an average temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius. He warned that delays in achieving this goal could lead to even greater issues and challenges.
Regarding the UAE’s hosting of COP28, the WMO Secretary-General expressed his satisfaction with the UAE’s commitment to clean energy investments and initiatives supporting the organization’s climate change strategy. He also praised the UAE’s decision to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), recognizing the agency as a key player in advancing renewable energy solutions.
Prof. Taalas expressed his pleasure at visiting Abu Dhabi twice this year and holding fruitful meetings with Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate. He commended the UAE’s actions and partnerships, which align with the World Meteorological Organization’s efforts to address climate change challenges.