Close collaborations with countries that need Qatar’s technology or finance for inventing smart solutions can significantly contribute in the fight against climate change, according to Dr Frank Rijsberman, the director-general of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
“The smart thing to do economically is to invest in renewable energy, to invest in energy efficiency, to use water more wisely and to collaborate internationally to avert this crisis,” he told Gulf Times.
Dr Rijsberman was speaking on the sidelines of an international conference on ‘Sustainable Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Desert Climate 2019,’ organised by Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
He also delivered a keynote address at the event titled “Green growth to achieve Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.”
Citing an example, he said that with Qatar’s help, countries such as Senegal and Ethiopia can improve their productivity in agriculture and become “first self-sufficient.”
“Qatar can then make long-term commodity deals with them around rice and wheat just like it is making long-term commodity deals to export natural gas,” Dr Rijsberman noted.
He also underscored the importance of increasing energy efficiency, particularly countries that use a huge amount of energy.
“I was in Mongolia, and they are looking for renewable energy but probably the number one challenge they have is to have increased energy efficiency. According to a study we did there, they should increase the insulation on buildings. You can reduce the energy use in buildings by 50%,” said Dr Rijsberman, adding that reducing water use also contribute to reducing climate change.
About the ongoing 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25) in Madrid, he hopes that a key area – Article 6 of the Paris rule book – at least some form of agreement will come, saying they are working with a few developing countries to start preparing governance and MRVs (monitoring, reporting and verification) system to allow them to trade and prepare a pipeline of projects.
“The second key element that is not totally in the agenda, is that next year, COP 26, countries have to submit their new NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), but everybody hopes will be more ambitious to stay with less than 2 degrees, or preferably less than 1.5 degrees and we are not on track so we need to see much more ambitious NDCs,” Dr Rijsberman said.
He noted that one of the most aggressive countries like Denmark have now committed to 70% reduction of their emissions by 2030. Mongolia improved its ambition from 14% to 22%, which is quite more different from 70%. Other countries are in between.
GGGI - dedicated to promot green growth, climate resilience
GGGI is a Seoul-based intergovernmental organisation with 36 member countries dedicated to promoting green growth and climate resilience. Qatar is a founding member who set up the institution, along with 16 other countries.
Some 33 member countries have active programmes aimed at supporting their green transition to economic models, which is more environmentally sustainable, more socially inclusive, working particularly on climate change, energy, and green cities.
“We helped quite a few governments come up with green growth plans with better NDCs, but probably our signature achievement is that we’ve now also helped mobilise money,” Dr Rijsberman said.
“So in the last two years, we’ve mobilised about $1bn in green climate finance to move this agenda forward and that is what our member countries appreciate most.”