DUBAI, 22nd April, 2016 (WAM)–Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) participated in observing International Earth Day 2016, held under the theme ‘Trees for the Earth.’ The international initiative aims to plant 7.8 billion trees around the world. This emphasises DEWA’s commitment to rationalising the use of natural resources, achieving sustainability, and tackling climate change. To support International Earth Day 2016, DEWA organised a ‘Trees for the Earth’ activity at DEWA’s Sustainable Building in Al Quoz, with DEWA officials and a group of employees taking part.

DEWA also organised workshops for students within a number of public libraries, to raise awareness and promote the rational consumption of resources as part of daily life. The workshops highlighted the importance of planting trees, and demonstrated different methods in which one could plant a tree. They also emphasised the importance of tackling climate change, and supporting national efforts to achieve the sustainable development of the Emirate.

This year, Earth Day coincides with the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which will take place at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited all world leaders to a signing ceremony on 22nd April for the historic climate agreement that was reached in Paris in December last year.

The main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen capability to deal with the impacts of climate change.

“DEWA annually participates in International Earth Day, as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in line with the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to achieve sustainable development in Dubai, and our vision to become a sustainable innovative world-class utility. Today, we reiterate our commitment to conserve natural resources and contribute to finding sustainable solutions to cut waste and implement sustainable development for the environment, the economy and society, to achieve the Dubai Plan 2021 to make Dubai a smart, integrated and connected city,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

“The UAE has submitted its Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), together with other nations, to tackle climate change, especially in terms of environmental stewardship of energy, by conserving our natural resources, such as the increase of renewable targets I previously mentioned, and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy’s Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2020. The UAE’s contribution helps reduce global emissions, and slow temperature rises. Our Demand Side Management Strategy supports this goal. The strategy features 9 programmes to manage energy demand. These include green building regulations, retrofitting existing buildings, district cooling, wastewater reuse, laws and standards to raise efficiency, energy-efficient street-lighting, and the Shams Dubai initiative to regulate the generation of solar energy in buildings,” added Al Tayer.

“One of DEWA’s major projects to achieve this is the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park, the largest single-site solar park in the world, which is based on the independent power producer model. It will generate 5,000MW by 2030 and will contribute to cutting 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.”

“We ensured that we launched many programmes and initiatives to target society to encourage the rational use of electricity. DEWA recorded a drop in electricity use during Earth Hour 2016 that was 222MWh, which corresponds to 96 tonnes of carbon dioxide. DEWA takes priority in promoting the rational use of electricity and water as a national responsibility to society, to preserve the UAE’s environment and natural resources, and develop a generation that cares for preserving the environment from a young age.”

“DEWA’s various initiatives and awareness programmes effectively contribute to supporting national efforts to achieve a sustainable future for citizens and residents. These efforts achieve savings in water use. DEWA managed to achieve impressive results in reducing electricity and water use over the past seven years through its various campaigns. DEWA managed to save 1,344 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, and 5.6 billion imperial gallons of water. Saving AED841 million, and limiting carbon dioxide emissions by over 715,000 tonnes,” concluded Al Tayer.