DOHA - To meet the Paris Agreement's 2030 targets – and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – nations must continue to educate citizens while investing in innovative technologies and solutions, experts said at the first Qatar Climate Change Conference, hosted by the Qatar Foundation.
The one-day event, sponsored by ExxonMobil Qatar and co-hosted by the Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, brought together industry leaders and stakeholders from around the world to discuss how to balance economic development and sustainability goals.
And, with the global sustainability summit COP26 scheduled for November, H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Chairman of the Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development – who delivered the conference's keynote address – emphasized the conference's relevance. “This event occurs as nations and major stakeholders prepare for the upcoming United Nations climate change conference, COP26, in Glasgow,” he explained.
“Expectations are skyrocketing. Global leaders are expected to reaffirm their commitment to net zero emissions and provide an updated road map for achieving this goal.”
H E Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Subaie, Minister of Municipality and Environment and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, also delivered a keynote address, emphasizing how climate change has emerged as the world's most pressing issue today and how Qatar is addressing it through real, tangible action.
“Education is critical for comprehending the complexities of climate change,” he added. “Qatar will continue to invest in education, equipping its citizens with the knowledge and skills necessary for a sustainable future.”
H E Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar Airways and Secretary General of Qatar Tourism, was one of the conference's speakers, participating in a panel titled Qatar's National Climate Action and Policy. He explained how Qatar Airways has made significant investments in reducing its carbon footprint, stating, "We balance our business operations with an obligation to protect the environment."
However, collaboration is critical, he explained. “We must educate the populace. We need to use media and social media to educate our citizens so they can play a significant role in carbon offsetting while also changing their behaviors to conserve our planet and produce less waste that cannot be recycled.”
Omran Al-Kuwari, CEO of Qatar Foundation International, discussed how Qatar Foundation has incorporated sustainability into all aspects of its operations, from pre-university education to RDI investment.
“Intriguingly, experts believe that the technologies required to achieve the 2030 targets already exist,” Mr. Al Kuwari stated. “However, in order to reach 2050, we will require new technologies. That, I believe, is an enormous opportunity for economic development, for entrepreneurs, for the development of new businesses, and for the growth of existing businesses. That is where Qatar can make a significant contribution – by investing now and becoming a part of the solution in 2050.”
And Borge Brende, President, World Economic Forum, who attended virtually, echoed this sentiment about how technology will play a significant role in the years to come.
Dominic Genetti, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar, also shared his company's perspectives on a low-carbon future, emphasizing the company's long-standing relationship and close collaboration with Qatar.
“We are proud of our history with the State of Qatar, which spans more than half a century. We have developed a strong partnership and friendship over the years based on cooperation, shared success, trust, and mutual respect,” Genetti explained.
“We are committed to advancing Qatar's Sustainability Strategy, which is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and to assisting the country in meeting its low-carbon targets as defined in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Paris Accord.”
The second session, titled Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Qatar, focused on monitoring, reducing, and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate climate change, while the third session, titled Carbon Market and Pricing, examined how a market-based instrument can effectively support future climate change interventions.
Saud Abdulla Al-Attiyah, Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Affairs at Qatar's Ministry of Finance and a member of the Qatar Fund for Development's board of directors, stated: "We in Qatar support the global effort to reduce carbon emissions. We are studying the carbon market as part of our climate change strategy and are aware that collective action is critical for successful implementation.
“Because the introduction of carbon pricing is no longer an option, our efforts have been stepped up, and we hope to present a credible plan soon.”