DOJ Considers Tabling Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions

SUN CITY, United Arab Emirates — Western nations rushing to define the future global role of fossil fuels as a primary source of energy will find an unlikely ally to call on in Asia…

DOJ Considers Tabling Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions

SUN CITY, United Arab Emirates — Western nations rushing to define the future global role of fossil fuels as a primary source of energy will find an unlikely ally to call on in Asia — the United Arab Emirates.

Located in the Gulf region, the UAE has itself moved aggressively toward cleaner energy, as one of the world’s most prominent players in solar and wind projects. At the same time, the powerful oil nation is betting it will need fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.

Many of the 100 nations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are still debating how to adapt to the impacts of climate change. They also are trying to negotiate a document to come out of their first major conference since the Paris accord, the 2015 agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The meeting begins Monday.

The meeting is more than a chance for conference attendees to declare a plan for the future. The document will set the rules for how countries will meet their target of halving global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It will also set targets for how the world will use energy.

The new document must be agreed upon by each nation in the coming weeks and months before December 2018, when national climate negotiators are set to take part in a UN treaty-setting meeting in Poland.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who as the U.S. leader often ruled out endorsing the Paris accord, said the U.S. is willing to sign the new document — and that the Paris agreement should be subject to “part-and-parcel” revisions later in the process.

The U.S. would likely shift its environmental policies under President Donald Trump, though many of the policies it had committed to under the Obama administration remain in place.

The UAE is on a collision course with Saudi Arabia and other top Arab oil nations by pursuing sustainable energy instead of exporting more fossil fuels.

UAE energy minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazrouei told Fox News on Friday that he believes his country’s commitment to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions will help it further develop its renewable sources of energy.

“We believe that if you look at nations around the world, the economies of the developed world are already in transition to the various aspects of green technologies,” he said. “The renewable technologies are going to come to the middle and lower income countries … at an increased rate than the developed countries.”

Al-Mazrouei acknowledged that many of the world’s “rising powerhouses” would still need fossil fuels in a rapidly growing global economy.

Al-Mazrouei said he believed the EU — which was developing a clean energy package that ultimately became the cornerstone of the Paris accord — could become a role model for other countries to follow. He also noted the ability of Qatar and the UAE to lead “emancipating” — using fossil fuels to increase economic growth and reduce poverty — his country will need to remain competitive.

Al-Mazrouei is hoping that the recently ratified U.S. solar energy tax credit — known as the 30 percent tax credit — will help stimulate the drive toward cleaner energy in the U.S.

Al-Mazrouei rejected criticism that the U.S. was ignoring its growing dependence on fossil fuels by promoting solar and wind.

“I do not see — I have a hard time seeing — American leadership in this area,” he said. “This will improve over time.”

On Monday, the UAE will host an agreement on renewable energy cooperation that was signed last December with the 14-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“We will continue to set the pace for global renewable energy leadership by adopting common standards and technology standards, which will include energy-saving technologies that safeguard the environment while increasing energy independence and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the country’s minister of state for energy affairs, Sultan al-Jaber, said in a statement Friday.

John Roberts is a Fox News contributor.

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