May 4-5, a special two-day, high-level United Nations meeting -- "Abu Dhabi Ascent" -- will convene in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with the aim "to reinvigorate government and private sector actions needed to seriously address global climate change."
The conference was formally announced in February by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, and it will gather global leaders from government, the private sector and civil society. The meeting is in advance of the U.N. Secretary General's Climate Summit 2014, being held on September 23 in New York, "in an effort to bolster and catalyze climate action proposals."
Abu Dhabi Ascent will focus on nine high-impact areas including energy efficiency, land use and forests, finance, renewable energy, agriculture, resilience, transportation, short-lived climate pollutants, and cities. The meeting will also explore international and multi-stakeholder efforts that support ambitious on-the-ground actions.
Both Abu Dhabi Ascent and Climate Summit 2014 are precursors to the 2015 U.N. FCCC Climate Change Conference in Paris where a global, binding climate agreement will be negotiated, and as such, aim to drive political will and action in advance of the 2015 conference.
TriplePundit will be at Abu Dhabi Ascent as a guest of Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala, Abu Dhabi's strategic investment company. Masdar is currently delivering nearly 1 gigawatt of renewable energy to international grids, meaning that, "Today the UAE is the only OPEC nation supplying both hydrocarbons and renewable energy to the international market" according to Dr. Al Jaber. In addition, Masdar has also embarked on a journey to build the world's most sustainable city, just outside Abu Dhabi, forming a "greenprint" for how cities can accommodate for rapid urbanization, while also dramatically reducing energy, water and waste. (For a look inside Masdar City, check out this video tour and photo essay.)
The conference comes at a time when, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, for the entire month of April 2014, levels of CO2 exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time. In the report, a Stanford atmospheric scientist and environmental engineer, Mark Z. Jacobson, is quoted as saying, "The rise of carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million is an indicator that the problem of global warming is getting worse not better," adding, " we need to focus on solutions to this problem, namely converting to wind, water and solar power for all purposes."
Please follow along with us as we report from the conference May 4-5.
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Phil Covington holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. In the past, he spent 16 years in the freight transportation and logistics industry. Today, Phil's writing focuses on transportation, forestry, technology and matters of sustainability in business.