Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi inaugurates the Climate Change Negotiation Forum at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi

17 Mar 2016

Under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance and President of Zayed University, Climate Change Negotiation Forum ‘The Road from Paris’ commenced today (Wednesday) at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi campus.

The Official opening ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna, who gave a keynote speech at the outset of the conference, Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University, and a number of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, private sector, senior administrators, faculty members, and students at Zayed University.

The one-day conference is organized by Zayed University College of Sustainability and Human Sciences in collaboration with Directorate of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA).

The forum came in a major step aiming at evaluating outcomes from Paris COP21 meeting with special focus on the impact in the UAE and GCC region. It served as a platform for decision makers, scientists, young researchers, and private sector representatives, who interacted and discussed the research agenda for the future.

In her address on the occasion, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna said: “The rapid rate of population growth had triggered an ever-increasing demand on industrial activities which, among many other anthropogenic activities, result in an excessive release of greenhouse gases, and in particular carbon dioxide. The level of CO2 emissions has increased from 280 part per million (ppm), prior to the industrial revolution, to 379 ppm in 2005, reaching a current level of ~400 ppm. These emissions are causing the world’s climate to change, leaving serious impact on our planet’s environment and the way we live. Several studies reported an increase of the average global air temperatures by 1.5°C since the early 20th century, and an increase by about 1 degree over just the last 30 years”.

She also pointed out in her address that “The Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting concludes repeatedly that business, as usual scenario, is not the way to go when dealing with climate change. This is mainly due to the fact that climate change knows no boundaries. No country can address climate change on its own. This is a challenge that needs to be dealt with globally. However, there are several standing challenges which will be addressed by the experts of this timely gathering.”

Adding further, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna said: “COP21 for the first time brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities. The universal agreement’s main aim with regards to climate change is to keep a global temperature rise, this century, well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defense line against the worst impacts of a changing climate.”

Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna continued: “Climate change issues are cross-disciplinary and transboundary issues. Sustained cooperation of academic institutions and stakeholders in private and public sectors is a key to release the promises of the green low carbon economy.”

The Climate Change Conference discussed and highlighted various topics such as the UAE green growth strategy as a tool to mitigate climate change, integrated environment policy and planning, sustainable development and energy policy under conditions of economic and climate change, historical perspectives of developing nations at COP meeting with emphasis on COP21, the road map for law-carbon and climate-resilient future, and the role of public health in climate change.

Professor Fares Howari, Chair of the Organizing Committee, also gave some welcome remarks at the beginning of the forum, which is co-sponsored by the Consolidated Contractors International Company and was attended by Masdar Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi, Khalifa University, and Abu Dhabi University.


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