Dubai Expo charts a path to COP26

Dubai Expo

 Visitors view installations at the Brazilian pavilion at the Expo 2020 in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai, on October 20, 2021. 

Photo credit: Karim Sahib | AFP

South Africa is determined to boost mitigation and adaptation strategies in the fight against climate change.

Our work is driven by the global Nationally Determined Contributions as per the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and our own National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In adhering to our plan, South Africa emissions are expected to decline in 2025, a full ten years ahead of its previous peak, plateau decline trajectory. Moreover, greenhouse gas emissions will have reduced by 28 per cent compared to current levels by 2030.

According to our projections, in the same year, the government would have increased renewable energy from 11 per cent to about 34 per cent. This will be achieved through the installation of 17,7 gigawatts of solar PV and 0.6 gigawatts of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) totalling over 26 Gigawatts of renewable energy.

Renewable Energy: Solar PV, wind, and CSP with storage present an opportunity to diversify the electricity mix, to produce distributed generation and to provide off-grid electricity. Renewable technologies also present a massive potential for creating new industries, job creation and localisation across the value chain.

South Africa encouraged participants at the Expo 2020 Dubai towards meeting global climate change commitments and engaging with our Integrated Resource Plan which provides a road map for our energy future.

Climate change

The country is committed to work this plan in partnership with other African countries, the Middle East, South Asia and the rest of the world to intensify its actions in the fight against climate change.

It is through working together that we can achieve a better and more sustainable future.

In reflecting on the outcomes of the Durban Declaration of COP 17, we saw nations set several goals to change our trajectory. These included ensuring that the international community develops an inclusive, environmentally practical, balanced, equitable, and binding agreement that would reduce global emissions of greenhouse gasses and consider the need to balance climate and developmental imperatives.

The communities of the Middle East are encouraged to support the position of the African Group of Negotiators to advance the fight against climate change.

The ambition and climate action are to advance all three interconnected global goals in the UNFCCC's Paris Agreement in mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation.

The urgency of developed countries to honour their obligation to provide financial support to developing countries should be centre stage at this Expo.

The voices coming out of Climate and Biodiversity Week at the Expo 2020 Dubai are critical if we are to proceed to COP 26 with a united front.

UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri, said: "Going to COP26… This is such an important meeting because it's the start of the decade of action. There is so much to be done."

She added: "Having a place to convene and talk, and get things going, is essential, and this is what I feel COP26 will be about – accelerating our efforts and learning from each other. Every country has gone through a learning curve, and it's a chance to look at the national effort and support others. We're there to ensure we're doing what we need to as responsible global citizens,”

Courageous action

The Expo 2020's People's Promise event was co-curated with the UAE Ministry for Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), Expo 2020's Global Trade Partner DP World, and the UK.

It brought together global youth and world leaders to build energy, exchange, community, and optimism towards COP26, gathering diverse voices and experiences to highlight the value of more ambitious and courageous action within and beyond negotiations at this critical moment preceding COP26.

Nisreen Elsaim, Chair of UN Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, said: “All of the actions, meetings, and momentum we're having now is building towards COP26 and climate advocacy. We're hoping that it works like a snowball effect, getting bigger and bigger until we reach the optimum size of action that will save the planet and the future."

William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: "We recognise that these ideas and commitments need to be financed. It is one of the key elements to making it all happen. The global citizen's line is absolutely right, and it's all about financing and developing emerging markets. And through that finance – both public and private – there are returns to be made… 2030 is really what we should be focusing on, because if we don't do what we've got to do by 2030, then we won't be in a very good position." 

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