18 MAY 2022

Decarbonizing Transportation is Key Sustainability Challenge, Costa Rican Minister tells ADSW Talks

In Masdar’s most recent episode of ADSW Talks, a recurring video series in which influential global sustainability figures share their perspectives, Her Excellency Paola Vega Castillo, Costa Rican Minister of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications, said transportation is one of the biggest issues facing Costa Rica in its decarbonization journey.

Like the UAE, Costa Rica is already considered a global sustainability leader, named the second-most sustainable country in the world by the World Energy Council in 2017, and ‘UN Champion of the Earth’ in 2019.

Today, “about 98 percent of the energy we produce comes from renewable resources,” HE Castillo said. “The problem is that, when it comes to transportation, we have strong carbon emissions that we want to decrease. That’s why decarbonization is very important for us as a country.”

Last November, Costa Rica joined the UAE in adopting its own plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To do that, the Central American nation has prioritized “strong progress” in electrified transportation by the end of the decade to both dramatically reduce its carbon footprint and support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Innovation will remain critical, HE Castillo said: “By means of innovation, we must find ways to be more effective in terms of productive, in terms of consumption, and also think about the new product and services that will help us face our current challenges without taking from nature what is not necessary to take from it.”

In addition, HE Castillo emphasized the importance of global initiatives like Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which “are very important in order to, on the one hand, raise awareness of the consequences of our way of living, and also to provide these opportunities for networking—because we need all the knowledge and talent worldwide.”


30 JAN 2023

COP28 will be stage for ‘big deals,’ actor and conservationist says on ADSW Talks

Hollywood actor and environmental activist Adrian Grenier believes the COP28 climate change conference, to be held in the UAE later this year, will go down in history for securing ‘big deals.’

“I’m excited about the Emirates Climate Conference, COP28. I find it’s going to be a very promising COP. “I think it will go down in history,” Grenier - who starred in ‘Entourage’ and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ - said on the latest edition of ADSW Talks. The former United Nations Goodwill Ambassador shared his views while attending Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in the UAE capital this January.

Grenier, who is also Chief Earth Advocate for space tourism firm World View, added that he believed the right leadership and vision were in place to achieve results at COP28.

“The stage is set for countries around the world to come together and really make some big deals,” he said. “Based on my experience here, so far, it feels like there is the right vision and the right leadership to set the stage.”

The actor also said that he was beginning to hear different people using “similar rhetoric” at ADSW 2023, which indicates a growing willingness to work toward the same goal.

“So, I’m very much encouraged,” he said. “People are starting to talk in the same direction. So, it’s now just a matter of how to start implementing the programs and putting the money in the right place, so that we can make the changes that we as a collective, united planet want to see.”


12 JAN 2023

Education - key to tackling climate change, HE Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares tells ADSW Talks

Climate change is a largely man-made problem, and can be solved through education, HE Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares, said on the latest edition of ADSW Talks. Education is a “core pillar” running through strategies to tackle climate change, he said, and education programs should have climate change lessons “embedded” within them.

“Climate issues are man-made, the majority of them,” said Dr Al Gurg. “And if problems are man-made, then solutions can be man-made too. With the right education, we can make that happen. And vice versa, education, and the future of our children, and the prosperity of humanity cannot happen without having a clean planet and without saving the Earth.”

Dr Al Gurg said he hoped future generations would look back at our efforts to tackle climate change with pride. “I always dream that in the future, children will look back at us and say that we were the generation that actually changed education (in order) to secure a better and more prosperous, sustainable future,” he said.

Dubai Cares was founded in 2007 under the patronage of HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The philanthropic organization focuses on education and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It connects its large network of allies together to secure maximum benefits for children, said Dr Al Gurg.

“It's only via partnerships that we can achieve the goal that has been set for us, which is global education,” he said. “We have a very big voice in the education sector, globally. And we have a connection with climate through our other networks. So, we decided to play that convening role.”

He added that connecting different organizations allows them to share knowledge about best practice. As a result, they can design education programs that deliver the best results for children around the world.

Dr Al Gurg said Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week also plays a crucial role in connecting important agencies. “The beauty of Abu Dhabi sustainability week is that it's about sustainability,” he said. “Education is about sustainability; the climate is about sustainability and health is about sustainability. So, these long-term goals need a platform that connects them together. Because these goals cannot work in isolation.”


14 DEC 2022

“Don’t leave people behind” in global warming fight, US oil chief tells ADSW Talks

Measures to tackle global warming should not “leave people behind” – and the oil & gas industry needs to play a role, the first woman to head a major American oil company told ADSW Talks.

“While we have to eliminate as much as we can of global warming – and the CO2 emissions that cause that – we also have to remember, that we have to do it in a way, that we don’t leave people behind, that people aren’t unnecessarily damaged as a result,” Vicki Hollub, President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum (OXY), said in her edition of ADSW talks.

She added that the oil & gas industry, with its vast experience in logistics, could play a key role in the energy transition.

“That’s the part we think we can play in the climate transition, because that’s going to require a lot of building of equipment, a lot of logistics, a lot of planning,” she said. “And that’s what we are really good at.”

Climate change can only be tackled successfully if all countries and corporations work together, she added. That’s what makes events such as Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week so critical.

“Without venues like this, we can’t get it done,” she said. “Because it’s going to require us all working towards the same goal.”

Ms. Hollub added that OXY’s net zero plans include carbon capture, sequestration and eliminating methane emission from all operations.