UAE to host 2023 United Nations climate summit

Dubai has been selected to host a United Nations summit next year on climate change and low-carbon development, the leader of the United Arab Emirates said on Monday.

Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, told reporters at the world’s largest climate summit in the Qatari capital that the UAE had been awarded the 2023 meeting at the request of Germany and European Union nations.

The 54-member U.N. General Assembly approved the switch in hosting duties last year after a request from France and Poland.

Nahyan also said that the UAE, a major gas and oil exporter that has been expanding into alternative energy, will develop a $2.5 billion solar power facility at Abu Dhabi’s coast in a few years, with its first commercial operation planned in 2022.

Nahyan said there is no doubt the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy is a key factor to alleviating climate change. But he also said there is no doubt nuclear power is necessary if renewable alternatives cannot keep pace.

Saudi Arabia is currently building a nuclear reactor at Jizan and it is discussing with Russia, France and China two to four new reactors at a cost of up to $50 billion.

The leaders of the UAE and Qatar have failed to meet in the past year due to Saudi Arabia’s dispute with the United Arab Emirates, a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and several other countries.

The seven-member GCC broke apart in early 2017 after members Qatar and Saudi Arabia cut ties amid allegations that Doha funds terrorism.

UAE-based media has reported that Qatar has offered to accept diplomatic and economic isolation for only two years instead of three.

Qatar insists the dispute, first over alleged ties to terror groups, should be resolved through dialogue.

Nahyan said the GCC countries “make up” and “are there for each other.”

“Just to add that we are going to do everything possible to see to it that regional issues will be solved amicably and based on mutual interest,” he said.

The climate summit brought together nearly 1,700 representatives from 147 countries to discuss an array of issues, including how to protect the world’s oceans from ocean acidification.

Among those invited to take part were the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and former Vice President Al Gore, who delivered a keynote address.

Several world leaders expressed strong support for the climate summit, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who was opening the event, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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