Paris – MENA Herald : As more than 190 nations finalize an agreement to tackle climate change at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, the United Arab Emirates is continuing to demonstrate how it is fostering innovation and new business models that spur a new age of sustainable growth.

“Innovation and technological breakthroughs are critical to addressing climate, but also to ensuring the sustainable development and of the UAE economy,” said H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Examples of cutting edge clean energy initiatives in the UAE include the 100 MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power plant and the 5000 MW Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The UAE is also close to completing the Middle East’s first commercial-scale project for carbon, capture, usage and storage.

Breakthrough technologies position UAE as a leader in climate action

“Through Masdar, our renewable energy company and Masdar Institute, our world-class innovation and research institute, the UAE is earning a global reputation for advancing promising technologies across the spectrum of clean energy and other sustainability sectors,” said H.E. Dr. Al Zeyoudi.

Innovative projects at Masdar and the Masdar Institute include a pilot program to test energy-efficient ways of producing drinking water. The pilot couples solar power with cutting-edge seawater reverse osmosis desalination, which could solve the critical challenge of water security in the UAE. Research is also underway on how to produce sustainable, viable biofuels derived from desert plants irrigated with seawater through other partners like Boeing and Etihad.

Supporting these UAE innovative initiatives are two global partnerships announced at COP21, including Mission Innovation and the International Solar Alliance, which aim to advance the development and deployment of clean energy technology. The partnerships also support the UAE’s national target to achieve a 24 percent clean energy mix by 2021.

“We view the challenge of climate change as an opportunity to commercialize new technologies that span across the sustainability sector, including energy, water, infrastructure and much more, and this can only happen with innovation and partnerships,” H.E. Al Zeyoudi added.

The UAE’s investments in research and development, innovation, and technology are setting a clear pathway toward a sustainable future and position the UAE as a global leader committed to climate action.

The new global climate agreement is expected to encourage innovation globally as countries commit to finding sustainable solutions to climate change in the context of their own national circumstances, as the UAE has done.