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Sheikha Shamma calls for borderless fight against climate crisis

The international community must band together to wage a borderless battle against climate change, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan has told London Climate Action Week.

The president and chief executive of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators warned that the number of people forced to flee their homes as a result of floods, rising temperatures and other consequences of global warming stands to reach 1.2 billion by the middle of the century. She called for “radical collaboration” to unlock the funds needed to reach targets.

In a speech entitled “Building Bridges Towards Global Circularity”, Sheikha Shamma issued a clarion call for leaders to take robust steps to mitigate the effects of environmental damage.

Sheikha Shamma said the “very serious reality” of climate change and the consequences of failing to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement are no secret.

“Consequences which are already being felt today, particularly among vulnerable populations in developing countries,” she continued. “Realities that if left unchecked will exacerbate climate migration, seeing 1.2 billion people displaced by 2050.”

The borderless approach she envisions should encompass all peoples, sectors and supply chains.

The voices of the youth, women and marginalised communities must be heard, she said.

She argued against solutions that benefit only a few people in society, while leaving the majority unaffected.

Sheikha Shamma drew on the case of Mariam, a young Emirati entrepreneur, as an inspiring example of hope for the future.

“On a mission to advance the circular economy, Mariam has founded a venture called Rebound – a global trading platform for recycled plastics across 140 countries,” she said. “Our discussions centred around the challenges faced in facilitating a successful transition to a circular economy and the role the recycling industry plays in unlocking the opportunity around trading waste.

“In the words of Mariam, moving from a linear to circular economy means leaders need to be brave. To be brave enough to do things differently and have appetite to try.”

At another London Climate Week event later on Wednesday, Sheikha Shamma said that to reach climate targets, “we must engage in radical collaboration”.

“Currently, there is a $3 trillion to 3.5 trillion gap in annual investment made towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and climate in developing countries,” she told the Climate Investment Summit at the London Stock Exchange.

“This will simply not be achievable if we continue to work in silos.”

She added that it was crucial for all those involved to work beyond borders, both national and corporate, citing the example of blended or concessionary finance, which uses both public and private sources of capital as a way of removing much of the risk from climate investing.

“Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with the Global Innovation Fund, a non-profit multilateral investment vehicle focused on improving the lives of people living on under $5 a day,” she said.

“The GIF brings together public and private capital, leveraging blended finance to bridge the gap and channel capital into promising early stage climate technologies, particularly in the Global South.

“What inspired me about this meeting was seeing the clear impact this business model has had.

“For every dollar GIF invested into these start-ups, they have gone on to raise $7.50, a clear demonstration of the domino effect that can be achieved when we work together to give a concept with potential the chance to shine.”

Earlier, Sir Jonathon Porritt, founder of the sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future, called on governments to accelerate efforts to reverse the effects of climate change.

He said the UK was among the best in the world at setting targets, but a disappointment when it comes to moving the dial.

The environmental campaigner lambasted British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration for its approach to the hot topic, saying ministers wanted to keep one foot in fossil fuels while reaching for green energy.

The government has “no coherent programme to encourage people to change their high-carbon lifestyles”, he said.

“Because they’ve got a foot in both camps, they really don’t want to engage with people today to explain what this transition is going to look like. How challenging it’s going to be, but also how rewarding it’s going to be for communities, for individuals, for organisations.”

In a speech titled “Enough of the Delay on Net Zero” at London Climate Action Week, Sir Jonathon criticised the Conservative government for laying out one climate strategy after another while failing to take enough action.

Under the heat and buildings strategy set out by the government, the UK plans to replace traditional gas boilers in millions of homes with eco-friendly heat pumps to reduce carbon emissions by the end of the decade.

“If you follow the logic of what the government would need to do, we would need to have retrofitted 6 million homes by 2030,” he said. “A new report published by WWF and Scottish energy [company] SSE came out on Monday and said the likely target, the likely outcome by 2030 is going to be 1.1 million homes.”

Original Source: The National News


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