UAE, US commit to jointly tackle climate challenge
ABU DHABI, UAE, 5 April 2021: The United Arab Emirates and the United States announced their joint commitment to tackle the climate challenge in a Joint Statement that stresses the importance and urgency of raising global climate ambition. Both countries announced their intent to cooperate on new investments in financing decarbonisation across the MENA region and beyond, and to focus on assisting the most vulnerable adapt to the effects of climate change.
H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “Together with the US, the UAE has affirmed that decisive, proactive climate action can be an engine for economic growth and sustainable development. Building on the legacy and experience of the UAE, which has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to sustainable development and today operates three of the world’s largest solar facilities, we will focus, together with the US, on joint efforts on renewable energy, hydrogen, industrial decarbonization, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions, and low-carbon urban design.
“The UAE is rich in opportunities with the world’s lowest solar power costs, and significant carbon capture investments. We look forward to sharing our experience with the international community to turn climate action into economic opportunity.”
Noting the progress made by many leading companies, both countries agreed to work closely with the private sector to mobilize the necessary investment and technology resources needed to stem the climate crisis and support the economy.
At the national level, the United States and the United Arab Emirates confirmed their intent to work towards decarbonising their economies according to their national circumstances and economic development plans, including reducing carbon emissions by 2030.
The United States and the United Arab Emirates stressed their commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote the success of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
The Joint Statement emerges from the UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action, held on April 4. The event convened climate leaders from across the MENA region and unveiled a new era of cooperation in the region for a future focused on prosperity through climate policy, investment, innovation and sustainable economic growth.
The Dialogue drew the participation of high-level dignitaries from across the region as well as critical global partners and organisations. Participants included COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma and US Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, together with ministers and high-level representatives from the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The event further reinforced the UAE’s regional climate leadership, providing a common ground for participating nations to build a shared vision for climate action ahead of COP26.
Sustainable solutions, digitalisation are the way ahead
As the new BASF Vice President for operations in the Middle East, could you take us through the roadmap of the company?
BASF is an active partner in the industry in the UAE. We have been present in the region for over a century, and our office in the UAE dates back to the 1970s. You can, therefore, say that we are deeply rooted in the region. In addition to our regional headquarters in Dubai, we have offices in Abu Dhabi, Al Khobar and Cairo. In the UAE, we operate a state-of-the-art polyurethane system house in Dubai Industrial City and a production facility for construction chemicals in Dubai Investment Park. Our construction chemicals business also has sites in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. In Bahrain, we operate a production facility for customised plastic additives. We have always aligned our business with the strategic vision and economic agenda of the governments in the region. What the visions have in common is not only a strong drive towards growth and economic diversification but also the realisation that having a commitment to sustainability is key to achieving long-term growth. We see unprecedented opportunities in various sectors to support these national priorities, and hence, we share our knowledge and expertise. After all, our commitment to sustainable solutions is anchored in the corporate purpose of BASF, which is to create a sustainable future.
To what extent is BASF reinforcing its commitment to sustainability, innovation and digitalisation, while also expanding its footprint across the region?
Our new strategy, which we presented in November 2018, aims at profit and a CO2-neutral growth. This means that we will decouple our greenhouse gas emissions from organic growth. To achieve this, we will improve the management, efficiency and integration of our manufacturing sites, and wherever possible, we plan on purchasing a greater share of electricity from renewable energy sources. We have already reduced emissions by 50% in absolute terms, compared to 1990 levels, while doubling our production in this period. In addition, we are working closely with a number of relevant stakeholders to drive sustainable water action and have been awarded a top ‘A’ rating by the international organisation, CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. We also want to grow our share of so-called ‘accelerator’ products, including in the Middle East. Across all customer industries, we have identified 13,000 accelerator solutions. These are products that have made a substantial contribution to making the value chain more sustainable. An example of an accelerator product that is performing very well in this region is Neopor, an insulation material that offers improved insulation performance and contributes to climate protection and energy efficiency. Another example is Elastocool, a system made for the insulation of fridges and freezers. The material has a low-thermal conductivity by approximately 0.5 mW/mK, which enables the achievement of energy classes A++ and A+++. The fast cycling time leads to higher output in production, while high compressive strength values lead to lower material consumption per unit. In addition, digital solutions are helping us achieve our sustainability-related goals. Digitalisation presents opportunities, and by using digital technologies and data, we are able to create additional value for our customers and increase efficiency along with the effectiveness of our process. Digitalisation makes our business smoother and eventually makes it cheaper.
You mentioned that there is a strong drive towards localised, advanced manufacturing. What are the challenges you foresee, and how do you plan on tackling them?
When we look at Egypt, a key market in our region, we are increasingly serving local customers, whereas, in the past, a large part of our customer base was multinationals with a presence in Egypt. Other countries in the region, including countries in the Gulf, are also moving in a similar direction. Therefore, I see opportunities for BASF, rather than challenges. One driving factor will be localisation. We are already producing locally and will expand this in the future with the mixing, blending and packaging of materials. Local storage is also becoming increasingly important.
USD 25 bn Al Faisaliah Project to provide 995,000 housing units by 2050
Dubai, UAE, 21 March 2019: The USD 25 billion Al Faisaliah Project in Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in the country’s move to diversify its economy, said Faizal Babu Pallathody, Managing Director, VTS Clima, naming the project as one of the key developments that will cultivate private-sector engagement as part of Saudi Vision 2030. Pallathody said the city, spanning 2,450 square kilometres, will be located in the western part of Makkah, starting from the Haram boundary and will extend up to the Red Sea coast of Al-Shuaiba in the west. “The project is a giant extension of the Holy City of Makkah and will provide 995,000 housing units and accommodate 6.5 million people by 2050,” he said.
Pallathody said that the country is proactive in its efforts to transform its economy and move to a post-oil era, underpinned by ambitious mega-projects, such as NEOM, which aims to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. The USD 500 billion industrial zone of NEOM, Pallathody said, will feature a 26,500-square-kilometre business zone that will link Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and aims to be a futuristic hub for both industry and citizens.