United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved a plan to host the 23rd U.N. Climate Change Conference in the Persian Gulf state in 2023, according to a statement issued by the UAE embassy in Washington.
The UAE is currently hosting the 15th UNFCCC conference, which ends Monday.
A World Bank report released in October predicted a severe economic slump in several Arab states, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which are projected to have the worst electricity shortages among Arab states by 2035. A fast-growing population, weak infrastructure and volatile oil prices are expected to drag down the economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Climate change fears have prompted many countries to scale down their expectations of greenhouse gas targets in any potential climate deal at the ongoing talks.
The United States, which has been adamantly skeptical of climate science and criticized countries for putting national interests ahead of international rules, has not been a part of any negotiating effort as it prepares to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord.
Reports have projected that countries need to cut emissions in a minimum of 50 percent by 2050 in order to achieve the lower 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degree Fahrenheit) warming target set by the accord. But few countries have committed to cut emissions in such a short timeframe.
“That global carbon budget alone is only 80 gigatons,” the UNFCCC said in a statement on Jan. 9. “That amount is enough to prevent 2°C or 1.5°C of global temperature rise. If countries deploy the technologies needed to achieve that carbon budget, and continue to implement policies to maintain it, then we have a very strong chance of achieving our Paris goal.”
The deadline for the 193 U.N. member states to accept the accord is currently Sept. 30.
A draft report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last October estimated that the world needs to reduce emissions by 40 to 60 percent in order to stay within safe temperature limits. The report also made clear that the wealthier countries, which have the means and commitment to cut emissions, need to help those more vulnerable to climate change to adapt to changing conditions.
One problem with IPCC reports is that most scientists conducting the assessments conduct their research from the perspective of Europe, which has been the far more developed and wealthy nation on the planet. Substantial climate change has been occurring around the world in countries that have experienced major economic and environmental catastrophes, such as Bangladesh, the Philippines and many of the countries on the African continent. Countries from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America often see threats to their environment and societies entirely from a western perspective, including in the recent decision on whale hunting.
“The only solution is to make humanity that can afford to act, to adapt to the challenges, to act like sahibs in Doha,” Amina Mohammed, the U.N.’s special adviser on the situation of women and development, told the Guardian in 2017.
Countries are expected to start deliberating in their capitals this week on plans to ratify the Paris agreement before a July deadline.