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COP28 to have an entire day dedicated to trade, says UAE Minister

Story Highlights
  • Dr. Thani Alzeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said the target at the summit would be to think about sustainability all the way

In a first, there will be an entire day dedicated to trade at COP28 to kickstart a global trading system that is cleaner, greener and smarter. That is according to Dr. Thani Alzeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade who was speaking at Climate Future Week (CFW).

“International freight transport currently accounts for more than 7% of all global emissions,” he said. “Between 2010 and 2050, the average hauling distance will grow by 12%. And road haulage is by far global trade’s main source of emissions, which is why the COP28 will be the first to feature a day dedicated to trade alongside stakeholders such as UNCTAD, the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum, Abu Dhabi Department for Economy and WTO.”

Organised across five days, the CFW has brought together experts from various fields to facilitate dialogues and debates about climate change and sustainability. Taking place at Museum of the Future, over 30 speakers will address CEOs, business leaders, government representatives, students and even the general public about the urgency with which climate change needs to be tackled.

Alzeyoudi said the target at COP28 would be to think about sustainability all the way. “The goal is to kick start the solution that can deliver a global trading system that is not just cleaner and greener, but smarter, faster and more inclusive,” he said. “From the deployment of green fuels to building frameworks to integrating advanced technologies across supply chains, this can be a starting point for a transformation of trade.”

Evident Changes

He said the transformation was long overdue, but he was glad to see things changing now.

“First sign is that container shipping company MasTec is set to introduce ships powered by green methanol by 2024,” he said. “Now we have an order book for an excess of 100 methanol enabled vessels. CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics, is piloting a hydrogen powered ships using hydrogen drawn from water. They say that Volvo is already deploying trucks that run on both fuel cells and liquefied. You also see a renewable fuel that can produce from food scraps.”

He also gave some examples of how things are changing in the UAE. “Jebel Ali Port, for instance, is home to the region’s first green warehouses where cold storage facilities run on solar energy,” he said. “It’s also home to a fully automated solar-powered container stacking system. And, in Khalifa Port Abu Dhabi, autonomous electrical trucks support loading and unloading operations while artificial intelligence is deployed to track containers.”

UAE’s role

Alzeyoudi highlighted that the UAE is leading the way on many aspects of sustainable supply chains. “We are behind a global drive to accelerate the integration of advanced technology into logistics sector that can increase the participation of developing nations,” he said. “We are investing billions of dollars into renewable energy that can help decarbonise value chains across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.”

He said the country has been sharing knowledge with several others. “We know that blockchain can fast track formal processes such as trade, finance and anti-money laundering protocols,” he said. “Artificial intelligence can improve stock movements and routing, removing inefficient paper-based procedures and saving global shipping sector $4 billion a year.”

He also explained how the UAE is continuing to invest in clean energy. According to the Green Fuel Index, the UAE has increased renewable energy capacity more than other countries in the world over the last 10 years. “Thanks to Masdar and Dewa, our renewable energy pioneers, we are now producing the cheapest commercial scale solar power on the planet,” he said. “And Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is now the world’s largest single solar facility. In 2009, we commissioned the Middle East first peaceful nuclear program. And today, Barakah nuclear plant in Abu Dhabi is saving 5 million tonnes of Co two every year. This is reducing the carbon footprint of our manufacturing base and by extension, our exports.”

The UAE is also supporting green energy projects across Africa and Asia. “We have already invested more than $50 billion across 70 countries on renewable energy projects and continue to partner with countries around the world to increase capacity wherever it is needed,” he said.


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