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Middle East must diversify its energy mix to tackle climate change
PwC experts agreed that governments must relook at their economic diversification plans for a sustainable future.
Ahead of the much-anticipated COP27 to be held in Sharm-El-Sheikh, experts from PwC’s Climate Action Taskforce discussed how the Middle East is at the heart of ambitious decarbonization agendas, its growing commitments to climate change and how COP27 and COP28 will provide an ideal platform to accelerate their action towards sustainable energy.
Experts agreed that governments must balance the impacts of climate change with the strategic role the region will play in energy transition, pioneering hydrogen and circular economy.
DEPLOYING AI-BASED ESG TOOL
To understand how the government walks the talk, PwC presented an AI-based ESG maturity tool, highlighting the interdependence of ESG, which measures how innovation can drive sustainable transformation in the region.
“Governments have different priorities and needs, and their ESG transformation journey is different, so we decided to develop a customizable tool based on principles and quantitative parameters. We didn’t want to support any sort of greenwashing but instead support a quantitative tool that is fast and easily deployable. The beauty of this tool is that the more we deploy it, the more we understand priorities for better servicing the government,” says Dr Celeste Lo Turco, Director of ESG and Sustainability, Governments and Public Sector.
The tool provides governments with quantitative outcomes that can be shared with citizens, peers, and other stakeholders, enabling governments to become champions to lead the transformation in their country.
“You cannot use old solutions for new problems; that’s where the AI employed in this tool helps others to visually understand problems as long as the input of the data; we deploy the tool by providing governments with a list of questions, however before the data is fed to the dashboard, we validate it,” Lo Turco added.
THE FUTURE OF CLIMATE CHALLENGES
Since the Middle East is one of the most water-stressed regions in the world, it has strong implications for food security and the sustainability of livelihoods. Given current water consumption patterns, reduced rainfall, and desertification only compounding these challenges for the region, Middle Eastern governments, businesses, and communities have important stakes in the outcomes of COP27.
Speaking on the opportunities for businesses and governments to advance on their climate agenda, Dina Storey, Middle East ESG Impact Centre Leader at Strategy&, said, “Middle Eastern countries are moving faster in the climate change agenda because of the region’s challenges. We are a water-scarce region, energy is abundant from a fossil fuels perspective, but we’re also looking to diversify away from an oil-dependent economy and to do that, we need to understand how to diversify our energy mix.”
The workshop also explored new frontiers in technology to address pressing climate challenges for both the public and private sectors, including a metaverse space featuring an interactive ESG educative landscape.
Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas comes to the Middle East on 23 November 2022. Click here to know more.