As part of its participation at COP27, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway, setting the timeframe and the mechanisms of implementing the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.
The pathway defines the country’s climate ambition with a total emission reduction target of 18% compared to the UAE’s updated second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of 31% by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 100% by 2050, compared to 2019.
“Climate change is the single most critical threat to humanity, as it affects not only us but also the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the places we live in, and even plants, animals, and soil,” Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment.
“Recognising the importance of fighting climate change on all fronts, the UAE is committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Last year, we took a decisive step in this direction with the launch of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative. And today, we are proud to present the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway that will drive the implementation of the Initiative.”
She added, “Powered by technology, innovation, and R&D, the Pathway is expected to bring significant gains in job creation, GDP growth, and air quality. We are determined to walk the talk and take decisive measures to contribute to global climate action so that we can build a more sustainable and climate-resilient future for our planet.”
The strategy development comprises two phases. Phase one, completed in September 2022, defined the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway. This included establishing an emission baseline, assessing the impact of existing national strategies on emission reduction until 2050, developing a model for estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and formulating scenarios for achieving net zero.
The National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway will implement economically viable mitigation measures with a focus on promoting a green economy and driving a shift to green industrial development. This option strikes a balance between environmental and climatic impacts on the one hand and socio-economic impacts on the other. It is also expected to meet the requirement of keeping global warming below 2 °C, ideally within 1.5 °C – the main target of the Paris Agreement.
The UAE will adopt several measures to mitigate climate change, such as increasing the share of clean energy in its energy mix and scaling up the use of clean electricity in various sectors, including heavy industries. A gradual reduction in the use of fossil fuels will also take place. The measures include expanding nature-based and industrial carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) systems with a focus on direct air capture (DAC) technologies and ocean-based solutions, in addition to supporting climate-smart transport.
The National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway will enhance transparency and increase the UAE’s chances of success in achieving the national target of limiting global warming within 1.5-2 °C in line with the Paris Agreement.
The UAE is among the world’s ten largest oil producers, with 96% of the country’s roughly 100 billion barrels of proven oil reserves located in Abu Dhabi, ranking number six worldwide.
The oil and gas industry continues to play a critical role in the UAE economy, contributing 30% of the UAE’s GDP and 13% of its exports. The UAE continues to rely heavily on profits from oil and gas exports, which provide the majority of UAE government revenue. But the UAE has made the energy transition a priority and was the first Arab state to set a net zero emissions target.
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