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World needs fossil fuels, complete switch not possible yet, says UAE minister at AIM summit

Phase out emissions instead of fossil fuels, scale up renewable energy technologies, Almheiri urged. 

World needs fossil fuels, complete switch not possible yet, says UAE minister at AIM summit
[Source photo: Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi | Pankaj Kirdatt/ Fast Company Middle East ]

Although renewable energy space is moving forward quickly, it is nowhere near meeting the world’s energy demand without the help of fossil fuels. Countries are still dependent on fossil fuels for energy. 

UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri on the sidelines of the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate, said that the world is not ready to switch off fossil fuels and move to renewable energy. Instead, it was better to phase out fuel emissions but not the production of oil, gas, and coal. 

“The renewable space is advancing and accelerating extremely fast, but we are nowhere near to being able to say that we can switch off fossil fuels and solely depend on clean and renewable energy,” she told Reuters in an interview.

There is a deep divide between nations rooting for a complete phasing out of fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy and those still deeply dependent on fossil fuels for their energy and economic needs. Many developing countries cannot keep up with the Western countries pushing for phasing out fossil fuel at the earliest. 

The minister added that COP28 would focus on phasing out emissions with the help of carbon capture and storage technologies while simultaneously scaling up renewable energy. 

“We are now in a transition, and this transition needs to be just and pragmatic because not all countries have the resources,” she added.

Over 80 countries agreed to include the language calling for the ‘phase down of fossil fuels’ at COP27 held last year in Egypt, while Saudi Arabia and China urged Egypt to not use the language in the outcome. 

Earlier this month, G7 countries, including France, the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, and Canada, agreed to phase out the use of fossil fuels at the earliest. 

Almheiri spoke about UAE’s example of developing and relying on new technologies for carbon capture to decrease oil, gas, and coal emissions in the OPEC-member nations. She added that UAE aims to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050, scaling up from the present 25%. 

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