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COP28 Host Promises 'Renewables' Focus

FILE: Sultan al-Jaber, chief executive of the UAE's Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and president of this year's COP28 climate, talks during the 'UAE Climate Tech' conference in Abu Dhabi Energy Centre, May 10, 2023.

DUBAI — The oil-rich United Arab Emirates said it would triple renewable energy production as part of a raft of environmental initiatives announced on Monday, months before it hosts the "COP28" U.N. climate talks.

UAE ministers approved an "updated national energy strategy" that aims to "triple the contribution of renewable energy over the next seven years," Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's ruler, said after a cabinet meeting.

Up to 200 billion dirhams ($54 billion) will be invested over the same period to meet growing electricity demand, he said in a statement.

Another initiative "aims to consolidate the country's position as a producer and exporter of low-emission hydrogen over the next eight years" by developing supply

The UAE, one of the world's biggest exporters of emissions-producing crude oil, also unveiled national strategies on hydrogen and electric cars.

Few details were revealed about the new policies, announced five months before the COP28 talks in Dubai, where nearly 200 nations will wrestle with how to tackle global warming and its impacts.

The UAE's hosting of the November-December COP28 negotiations has been criticized by climate activists, who question whether one of the world's biggest oil producers should have such a key role in the fight against global warming.

The Gulf monarchy argues that oil remains indispensable to the global economy, and is pushing the merits of carbon capture - the process of removing carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as fuel is burned, or from the air.

In 2021, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, the UAE said it was targeting net zero domestic carbon emissions by 2050 - a calculation that does not include pollution from exported oil.