Qatar Climate Change Conference experts say education is vital to a sustainable future

Educating people and investing in innovation and technology are key to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, experts said at the first Qatar Climate Change Conference, organised by Qatar Foundation.

Sponsored by ExxonMobil Qatar and conducted in cooperation with Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, the one-day event was attended by world-class industry executives and stakeholders.

Furthermore, His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah – who delivered the keynote speech – underlined the conference’s timing in light of the next global sustainability summit, COP26, taking place in November. “This event is happening at a time when nations and major stakeholders are preparing for the upcoming United Nations climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow,” he said. “Expectations are very high. Global leaders are expected to reaffirm their net-zero ambitions and provide an updated road map on how they intend to reach this target.”

A keynote speech was also delivered by His Excellency Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Subaie, Minister of Municipality and Environment and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. He stressed that the threat of climate change has become the greatest threat facing the world today and that Qatar is taking real, tangible steps to address it. “Education is absolutely key to understanding the specifics of climate change,” he added. “Qatar will continue to invest in education, arming people with the knowledge and skills needed to develop a sustainable future.

His Excellency. At the conference, Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar Airways and Secretary-General of Qatar Tourism, spoke on a panel called Qatar National Climate Action and Policy. It was revealed that Qatar Airways has spent substantially in lowering its carbon impact, according to the Qatar Airways CEO. “We balance our business operations with a responsibility to protect the environment,” he said.

But collaboration is key, he explained. “We need to educate the masses. We need to use media, and social media, we need programs to educate our people, so that they can also play an important part in carbon offsetting and at the same time changing behaviours so that we conserve our planet, and produce less waste that cannot be recycled.”

In his remarks, Qatar Foundation’s International CEO Omran Al-Kuwari emphasised how Qatar Foundation has woven sustainability into all parts of its business, from pre-university education to RDI investing. “Interestingly, according to experts, the technologies needed to get 2030 targets already exist,” Mr Al Kuwari said. “But to get to 2050, we need new technologies. I think that’s where there is a huge opportunity for economic development, for entrepreneurs, for new companies to be developed, for companies to grow. That’s where Qatar can play a huge role – to invest now and be a part of the solution in 2050.”

Borge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, who was in attendance virtually, shared this attitude, pointing out that technology would play a key role in the years to come. In addition, Dominic Genetti, ExxonMobil Qatar’s President and General Manager, discussed the company’s long-term connection and close engagement with Qatar. “We’re proud that we can trace our history with the State of Qatar back more than half a century. Over the years, we have developed a close partnership and friendship based on cooperation, shared success, trust, and mutual respect,” said Genetti.

“We’re committed to helping further Qatar’s Sustainability Strategy, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and to support the pursuit of its low carbon goals as defined in the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Paris Accord.” Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation in Qatar was the topic of the second session, while Carbon Market and Pricing focused on how a market-driven instrument might successfully support future interventions on climate change in the country.

“We, in Qatar, are supporting the global effort to cut carbon emissions. As part of the climate change strategy, we are studying the carbon market and are aware that collective action is critical for successful implementation. The introduction of carbon pricing is no longer a choice and therefore our efforts have increased, and we hope to come up with a credible plan soon.” said Saud Abdulla Al-Attiyah, Deputy Undersecretary for Economic Affairs of Ministry of Finance in Qatar and Board Member of Qatar Fund for Development.

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