COP27: Qatar says committed to climate action

The Gulf state has been leading efforts in mitigating the impact of climate change through various initiatives and projects.

Qatar renewed its commitment to curbing the challenges of climate change, in comments made at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Egypt.

The Gulf state’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani joined various officials and leaders from around the world at the high-level conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. 

Qatar’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr. Faleh Al-Thani was also in attendance.

“Pleased to attend the Climate Summit, to affirm Qatar’s keenness on international cooperation to address the challenges and repercussions of climate change. Sincere thanks to Egypt for hosting,” said Sheikh Mohammed in a tweet.

According to Qatar’s foreign ministry (MOFA), Qatar highlighted some of its accomplishments in combating climate change, most notably its efforts in balancing between economic and social development.

Sheikh Mohammed also attended the Middle East Green Initiative Summit on the sidelines of COP27. The event focused on “fostering” previous climate commitments in the region that were raised at the previous summit.

MOFA’s statement added that the latest meeting also “highlighted the most prominent climate challenges facing the region and their dimensions at the global level”.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s pavilion at the event also showcased several presentations on issues related to climate change and sustainability along with various approaches that could mitigate their ramifications. 

The booth also featured videos, photos and 3D models of Qatar’s efforts in joining the global efforts in curbing climate change.

With Doha edging closer to the much-anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar has placed great emphasis on its efforts to hold a sustainable tournament.

‘Highway to hell’

The latest conference comes amid a bleak future for the planet, with humanity facing greater threats under the impact of climate change.

Speaking to COP27, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned world leaders that mankind must choose between cooperating or committing “collective death” in the fight against global warming.

“It is either a climate solidarity pact or a collective suicide pact,” Guterres said, urging richer polluting nations to come to the aid of poorer countries least responsible for the emission of heat-trapping gases.

Guterres also urged countries to increase emissions in order to meet the more ambitious Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels. 

He called for a “historic” agreement between wealthy polluters and rising economies.

A new UN report found that within three decades, the world’s coldest region— the Arctic— may be cleared of all ice during the summertime, leaving hundreds of species exposed and on the brink of extinction.

East Antarctica had rainfall in March of this year alone due to the extremely warm air temperatures. The Alps have also lost 5% of their ice cover over the summer.

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator,” said Guterres.

Qatar’s green efforts

The Gulf state has been leading regional efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change through various initiatives and projects.

In 2012, Qatar gathered changemakers by hosting COP18, in which it led key discussions on balancing economic diversification, adaptation, and mitigation.

Last month, Qatar inaugurated the Al Kharsaah Solar Power Plant (KSPP), the first in the Gulf state and one of the largest in size and capacity in the region.

Covering an area of 10 square kilometers, the power plant is set to meet 10% of Qatar’s peak electricity demand by using more than 1,800,000 solar panels.

Last year, Qatar announced plans to reduce 25% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as part of its “Climate Change Action Plan”. The initiative also also falls in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030’s environment objectives.

Without any action taken, the emissions would increase by 33%.

In 2021, Qatar announced plans to plant one million trees ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in a bid to have a sustainable sporting event.

The country also plans to convert 25% of public transport to electric energy just in time for the big tournament, with 100% expected by 2030.

A network of electric car chargers are being integrated across Qatar to support plans to gradually transform the electric transport system.

The Gulf state also revealed a two-year $16 million sustainable development programme with the United Nations.

As a leading gas producer, Qatar stressed the importance of cleaner energy alternatives while leading energy transition to a low carbon source, such as liquified natural gas (LNG).

This is mainly through its multibillion-dollar North Field expansion project, the biggest of its kind in the world. The project is expected to increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 126 million tonnes per annum by 2027.

Earlier this year, QatarEnergy updated its Sustainability Strategy, which is part of its efforts “clean and affordable energy to facilitate the energy transition.”

Under the revised strategy, the company will also increase the carbon intensity of Qatar’s LNG facilities by 35% instead of the initial target of 25%. The intensity of its upstream facilities will also be lowered by 25% instead of 15%.

In February, HSBC and Qatar National Bank launched a green finance instrument in the MENA region and Turkey. The monetary tool aims to increase funding for environmentally-friendly projects.

Under the repurchase agreement, or repo, HSBC would borrow cash from QNB in exchange for green bonds. The borrowed money would later be used in projects that back efforts to promote low-carbon emissions.

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