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His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi: “Climate change knows no borders, and neither should we”

In the presence of His Highness Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting opened today at Emirates Palace.

The event has drawn the participation of more than 2,000 delegates from around the world. Distinguished guests include His Excellency António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). His Excellency Sheikh Dr Basel bin Hamoud Al-Sabah, Minister of Health of Kuwait, His Excellency Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE Minister of Infrastructure Development, His Excellency Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Prevention and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, also attended the opening ceremony.

Serving as the precursor to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York that will take place in September 2019, the meeting commenced with regional and international experts stating the case for multilateral action as the only way humanity will overcome climate change – the greatest threat facing the world at present. As the speakers took the stage in the UAE capital, the consensus was: Either we act now, together, or we fail to preserve our planet.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “This meeting is the point at which the public and private sectors, ministers, and the UN leadership can once again raise our level of ambition. We must leave Abu Dhabi with a set of winning outcomes that inspire people around the globe. But I also believe we have a clear opportunity to embark on a new era of economic growth, spurred by a global collaborative investment in climate action. For so long, climate action has been seen as a challenge. We should be positive and consider the opportunities that lie ahead. Remember, climate change knows no borders, and neither should we.”

He added: “2019 is the year to focus on the economic opportunities of climate action, to show that climate action will create jobs and new industries, and to improve the health of our most vulnerable people.”

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi announced a commitment to a new 2GW solar project in Al Dhafra region in Abu Dhabi that will eclipse the record-breaking 1GW Noor Abu Dhabi Plant.

Following Dr Al Zeyoudi’s address, His Excellency António Guterres said: “I thank the UAE for hosting this important meeting. We are here today because the world is facing a great climate emergency. Climate change is happening now, and it is progressing faster than we predicted. Only last week, we saw reports that the Himalayan glaciers are melting at double the rate since the turn of the century. The situation will only get worse unless we act now with ambition and urgency.”

He added: “My message today is clear and simple: We are in the battle for our lives, but it is a battle we can win. Solar power has become the cheapest source of energy. More cities and businesses are beginning to understand that climate solutions can protect our world while strengthening our economies. Youth are making their voices heard.”

The Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting aims to review and finalize the initiatives, commitments, and achievements that will be announced at the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit, as well as to examine key opportunities and challenges related to global climate action.

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