What is COP28?
The 28th Conference of the Parties, commonly referred to as COP28, is a pivotal event in the global effort to combat climate change. As the world grapples with the pressing challenges of rising temperatures, environmental degradation, and the urgent need to transition to sustainable practices, COP28 stands as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for positive change.
Hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), COP28 brings together nations, leaders, experts, and advocates from across the globe to discuss, negotiate, and strategize on measures to address the climate crisis. This conference plays a vital role in shaping international climate policy and accelerating the transition to a more sustainable and resilient future for our planet.
The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), under the guidance of the Office of Research and Community Service, is proud to be a part of this critical global conversation. Our commitment to sustainability, environmental stewardship, and innovative solutions aligns seamlessly with the goals and objectives of COP28. Through our dedicated webpage, we aim to provide insightful updates, resources, and information about COP28, highlighting the key discussions, initiatives, and outcomes that will shape our collective response to the climate emergency.
The conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, industry leaders, academics, representatives from non-accredited delegates, and other voices organizations.
Join us in exploring the significance of COP28, understanding its impact on our world, and discovering how AURAK contributes to the global effort to combat climate change. Together, we can make a difference and pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future for future generations.
The Universities Climate Network (UCN)
AURAK is honored to be a Climate Action Partner in this impactful initiative. This network provides a valuable platform to accelerate the adoption of sustainable initiatives, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and play an active role in shaping climate solutions within the UAE and on a global scale.
AURAK in ACTION
Student InvolvementThe American University of Ras Al Khaimah actively participates in COP 28 events through competitions and presentations such as the Expo Live University Innovation Programme at Expo City Dubai. Further, AURAK students have been involved in a roundtable discussion on climate action in the UAE and the role of universities and students in addressing climate challenges.
The student groups are working on the following innovative projects:
- BioCCS.ae: Novel Microalgae-based Bio CO2 Sequestration Systems.
- CircularGH2: Novel Circular Integrated system for Brine mining and Green Hydrogen.
7th November 2023 Roundtable Discussion
AURAK students will be in a roundtable discussion on climate action in the UAE and the role of universities and students in addressing climate challenges.
The discussion will focus on the following:
- How has the United Arab Emirates positioned itself in terms of climate action on the global stage, and what specific commitments or contributions has the country made leading up to COP28?
- What are the key climate challenges unique to the UAE, and how is the government addressing them as part of its climate commitments?
- What role can universities in the UAE play in advancing climate action and sustainability, both within their campuses and in the broader community?
- How have UAE universities been involved in climate research, renewable energy projects, and sustainability initiatives, and how have they impacted local and global climate efforts?
At AURAK, our commitment to sustainability is at the core of our values. The Office of Research and Community Service (ORCS) plays a vital role in managing and overseeing all aspects related to research and community service.
Over the past few years, we have been unwavering in our dedication to creating a more sustainable world for future generations. Through a holistic approach that encompasses education, innovation, and community engagement, we have actively worked towards a greener, more eco-conscious future.
Our journey towards sustainability has seen us implement various initiatives, from energy-efficient campus infrastructure and eco-friendly transportation solutions to innovative research in renewable energy and environmental conservation. We have cultivated a culture of sustainability within our campus community, inspiring our students, faculty, and staff to become custodians of the environment.
Read more about the ORCS here: https://aurak.ac.ae/research-community-service
A snapshot of our Recent Research Projects Dedicated to COP28
Electrical Self-Reliance and Architectural Harmony
Dr. Anis Semlali, Prof. Ahmad Sakhrieh, Dr. Mohamad Kharseh and Eng. Abeer AbuRaed
Due to the high energy demands and costs, this study proposed complete electrical self-reliance using mainly solar power via photovoltaic (PV) panels. It assessed various grid-connected PV options, from thin-film to fixed and single-axis to double-axis tracking modules. It evaluated their economic feasibility and environmental benefits, particularly in carbon emission reductions and credits. The study emphasized a partnership between architects and PV experts.The high electricity consumption and cost at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah initiated the idea of this
Beneficial Pathways to Shrink the Flaming Waste
Dr. Gbubemi Harrison
Over 144 billion cubic meters of "associated natural gas" worth US$21 billion was torched in oilfields worldwide in 2022, drawing the angst of environmental and global-warming advocacy groups. This study proposes an operations research model for seeking the optimum mix of gas re-injection, flaring, and sale. Model results postulate scenarios for achieving near-zero flaring. Capital availability, rather than fiat flaring controls, is shown to be the dominant determinant of sparking mitigation.The flaring of large volumes of natural gas produced as a by-product of crude oil has puzzled the energy-hungry world for a long. In recent years, it has also drawn the angst of the environmental and global-warming advocacy groups. The issues behind gas flaring are complex, involving a dynamic interplay of geosciences, engineering, economics, finance, and natural resource policy-making. The purpose of this research is to analyze the associated gas problem quantitatively from a countrywide perspective. Unlike prior studies, this work focuses on the upstream side, where the crucial strategic decisions are made upfront. To this end, a mathematical model is proposed for seeking the optimal integrated management strategy for the said national resource. The model is based on the Mixed Integer Linear Programming (MILP) technique and consists of scores of techno-economic decision variables and constraint equations along with a profit maximization objective. The model is general in nature but is applied herein to Nigeria as a case study. Several simulation runs are made to provide results for explanatory and prediction purposes. Model results indicate, for example, that a minimum gas price of $4.4/Mscf and minimum spend of $22B are jointly required to achieve zero-flaring, yielding a $10B profit. This is achievable by reinjecting all associated gas produced from medium and large-sized fields but gathering and selling all gas from small fields. Capital availability, rather than nationwide government-decreed flaring control, is shown to be the dominant determinant of profitable flaring mitigation. The model has proven to be a valuable tool for establishing the inter-relations between the key problem parameters under various pricing and resource-based scenarios and for forecasting the trajectory of the gas industry in multiple jurisdictions. Dr. Gbubemi Harrison is conducting the research.
A Pioneering Approach to Smart Grid Implementation Risk in the UAE
Dr. Maissa Farhat, Dr. Muataz Al Hazza, Prof. Ahmad Sakhrieh
The global challenges of conventional energy shortages and environmental pollution have assumed critical significance in pursuing sustainable development. However, deploying SGs, a fundamental solution, requires multiple new infrastructures, each vulnerable to various risks to security, reliability, compliance, and human safety. Employing the Delphi method, this research prioritizes these risks through the analytical hierarchy process and presents a comprehensive risk-based framework for evaluating SG implementation risks in the UAE.Smart grid deployment involves the implementation of multiple new infrastructures with vulnerabilities. Security, reliability, compliance, and human safety are, therefore, paramount concerns. In this research, a risk-based approach is presented for evaluating the risks associated with smart grid implementation in the UAE. To identify the significant risks associated with the implementation of a smart grid in the UAE, the Delphi method will be used. These risks will be then prioritized using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method, and then recommendations on best practices to overcome these challenges will be proposed. The expected outcomes will be a scientific report concentrating on hazard identification while relegating subjective risk estimation. This work contributes significantly to efficiently guiding resource allocations and optimizing practices at all levels of the smart grid platform to identify, measure, minimize, and ultimately engineer out the risks using engineering resources, ensuring that they are acceptable and approved. This research is led by Dr. Maissa Farhat, Dr. Muataz Al Hazza, and Prof. Ahmad Sakhrieh.
Overcoming the Challenges Facing UAE in UNSDG6.b Implementation
Dr. Muataz Al Hazza, Amel Alnaqbi (AURAK Student)
In recent years, the UAE has made progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. b, which aims to "support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management. However, considerable challenges, such as the highest impact to the lowest, deterioration of groundwater and reduction of its quality with priority, limited wastewater treatment, use of water in landscaping, increasing population, and use of water in the industry remain. This research utilizes AHP and Delphi Methods to integrate and prioritize these challenges and propose solutions.The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is described as a desert country facing significant challenges in managing water resources due to its arid climate and rapid population growth. In recent years, the UAE government has prioritized sustainable water management practices. It has made progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. b, which aims to “support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving Water and sanitation management. The primary purpose of this research is to investigate the UAE’s significant challenges in achieving SDG6.b Goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Concurrently, this research concentrates on overcoming these challenges. As one of the best qualitative methods, the Delphi method was used to explore these challenges and how to integrate Industry 4.0 to overcome those challenges. Five experts from various areas linked to and supporting the water field were invited and accepted to be involved in this research. This research involved a comprehensive approach to prioritize the selected challenges to achieve high consistency. Implementing AHP and Delphi Methods incorporating two rounds of evaluation and expert feedback to reach an 80% consistency threshold. The first round was about identifying and evaluating a set of challenges using the AHP method, which compares challenges based on their importance. While the second round was implemented to clarify the prioritization of challenges, this iterative process allowed adjustments based on expert insights, which increased consistency in the prioritization results. Achieving 80% consistency by making two rounds of implementation was an important milestone in this research. It ensured that the prioritization results were reliable and consistent. The research is being conducted by Dr. Muataz Al Hazza and Amel Alnaqbi (AURAK Student).
Real-time Air Quality Monitoring in Ras Al Khaimah
Prof. Ahmad Sakhrieh, Dr. Mohamed Al Zarooni
Urban living presents growing health concerns, including increased exposure to air pollution, noise, and rising temperatures. Sensor technology advancements have paved the way for portable and cost-effective environmental monitoring systems. This study involves placing wireless sensors on public transport vehicles to monitor real-time air quality. This research, conducted in Ras Al Khaimah, measures primary pollutants like CO, NO2, O3, humidity, temperature, and noise levels.The urban environment is facing a growing threat to public health, driven by rising levels of air pollutants, increased noise pollution, and a higher frequency of hot days. Accurate assessment of different air pollutants, as well as air temperature and humidity, is necessary to study the impact of air quality on different health endpoints. Recent developments in sensor technology have allowed the deployment of portable and relatively low-cost environmental pollutants monitoring systems. This research presents an experimental study on real-time air pollution monitoring using wireless sensors on public transport vehicles. This research aims to measure CO, NO2, O3, humidity, temperature, and noise level to assess the air quality in Ras Al Khaimah using portable air pollutant sensors. Predefined public bus routes in Ras Al Khaimah are selected to measure the exposure to emissions. All routes originated from al Manar Mall with different destinations (American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khaimah Airport, Al Jazeera Al Hamra area, and Shaam area). The collected data will be analyzed and correlated to other parameters like traffic, industrial activities, and human density. The results of this research may inspire future efforts to produce a real-time environmental map for Ras Al Khaimah. The research is being conducted by Prof. Ahmad Sakhrieh and Dr. Mohamed Al Zarooni.
Development of Nanophotocatalysts for Renewable Hydrogen by Solar-driven Water Splitting
Prof. Irshad Ahmad and Dr. Shagufta Waseem
Many countries, including the UAE, have already embarked on a direction towards an energy transition by forming market inducements for hydrogen renewable energy. Since hydrogen possesses extremely high gravimetric energy density and nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions fuel on combustion, the only by-product is water. This study has received AURAK's seed grant funding for an innovative research project development of sustainable Nano photocatalysts for renewable hydrogen production by solar-driven water splitting.This seed grant proposal aims to pursue research at the forefront of research interest: renewable energy production using sustainable Nano-photocatalyst for green hydrogen production by solar-driven water splitting (H2O/H2 + 1/2O2). This approach is a highly promising way to harness solar energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and CO2 to tackle climate change and is well aligned with the UN-SDG’s 7. Many countries, including the UAE, have embarked on an energy transition by forming market inducements for H2 renewable energy. In this regard, the visible-light-driven photocatalysis processes, including transition metal oxides and sulfides with sacrificial reagents, are progressing. However, the target-oriented sustainable photocatalytic process for renewable H2 production by solar-driven water splitting in terms of high quantum yield in the visible region is yet to be accomplished. The existing approaches are affected by the recombination of photocharges, which causes a detrimental role in the efficiency of photocatalysts, and other suppressing concerns are associated, such as back-reaction, the band gap of photocatalysts in the visible light region, catalytic support, the role of co-catalyst, and high surface area as it provides more adsorption sites. This seed grant project aims to design and synthesize efficient nano photocatalysts based on their efficiency, economic viability, and environmental sustainability metrics. It aims to assess the feasibility of solar-driven H2 production and make it accessible for industrial application. Furthermore, the research infrastructure and facilities will be established for photocatalysis that will facilitate the AURAK’s faculties and students for long-term research activities and open collaborative research opportunities within the AURAK and Wayne State University (WSU). The research findings will be relevant to the publication/patent and beneficial for the scientific community. The research is being conducted by Prof. Irshad Ahmad and Dr. Shagufta Waseem.
THE UAE’S PROVEN TRACK RECORD ON CLIMATE ACTION
As the first country in the region to ratify the Paris Agreement, the first to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions and the first to announce a Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the UAE is committed to raising ambition in this critical decade for climate action.
Our 2015 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) made us the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions by 2030, and we launched the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway in November 2022, which sets the timeframe and identifies the mechanisms to implement the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative.
The UAE was one of only 29 countries to submit a revised second NDC ahead of COP27. The enhanced target is expected to translate into an absolute emissions reduction of about 93.2 million metric tons of CO2e.
COP28 UAE THEMATIC PROGRAM
This draft program will be supplemented with additional events in several tranches over the coming months, including mandated events under the UNFCCC process. As the Presidency looks into maximizing synergies, some event topics may change or merge.
The COP28 thematic program is designed to unite a diverse range of stakeholders - all levels of governments, youth, business and investors, civil society, frontline communities, indigenous peoples, and others - around specific solutions that must be scaled up this decade to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, build resilience, and mobilize finance at scale. This set of solutions constitutes the response to the Global Stocktake, looking at where the world stands on climate action and support, identifying the gaps, and working together to agree on solutions pathways to 2030 and beyond.
Visit the official website for a detailed schedule: https://www.cop28.com/en/thematic-program
* Credit to COP28 website