UAE to host next U.N. climate conference in 2023

The United Arab Emirates will host the next meeting of the U.N.’s major climate change conference in November 2023, according to a decree from the country’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Mohammed’s order to host the 2023 conference was revealed in the first issue of the Emirati Leaders magazine published Wednesday.

Sheikh Mohammed said in the decree that the conference, called the Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), would be a follow up to the agreement of the 2015 Paris climate agreement to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

He said the conference would help “ensure a sustainable future and enhance regional peace and security.”

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash tweeted that the conference would be a “piece of history.”

Finance ministers and heads of state will decide the date of the conference in 2019.

Earlier this month, India dropped out of an earlier announcement on which nations would host the climate conference, hoping more countries will agree to be part of the effort.

India had announced in November it would host the conference in 2022, the same year it will host the U.N. climate change conference.

In making his announcement, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said that he had hoped more countries would be added, but he wanted India to be “part of this conference on the final day.”

But he said India remains committed to the Paris climate change agreement.

“Our agreement remains in force, which means there’s still an opportunity to come to all-India level, which would be a show of leadership,” he said.

Vardhan earlier told the Wall Street Journal that the conference is only slated to last two weeks, with high-level meetings held in New Delhi and in Beijing, China.

The Nature Conservancy said in a statement the conference would be “a historic opportunity for nations to move forward on climate solutions.”

“The 2023 conference will add even more momentum to the global mobilization of political and financial leaders to take on the challenge of climate change,” said Catherine Mace, the group’s lead regional adviser for Southeast Asia.

She said countries are starting to come together, although the world “would still be at the beginning of the road” without the 2023 conference.

Vardhan had earlier said India would continue hosting the conference because it is a signatory to the Paris agreement and thus fully commits to it.

India is keen to host the conference, as it looks to industrialize and to shift away from relying heavily on fossil fuels.

The country is one of the most active developing nations in terms of promoting wind, solar and energy efficiency projects.

The first three U.N. climate change conferences focused mainly on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Over the years, they have been dominated by the developed world, where the benefits of low-emission energy systems are most readily visible.

However, this time, a growing number of countries, including developing nations such as China and India, and leading industrialized countries are eager to exchange notes on strategies and discuss the benefits of switching to a low-carbon economy.

India’s decision last month to give an exemption to coal-fired plants that are 10 years old or older from being brought up to compliance with emission standards raised concerns about the reliability of its domestic electricity supply.

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