UAE

Critically Insufficient4°C+
World
Commitments with this rating fall well outside the fair share range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would exceed 4°C.
Highly insufficient< 4°C
World
Commitments with this rating fall outside the fair share range and are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would reach between 3°C and 4°C.
Insufficient< 3°C
World
Commitments with this rating are in the least stringent part of their fair share range and not consistent with holding warming below 2°C let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. If all government targets were in this range, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.
2°C Compatible< 2°C
World
Commitments with this rating are consistent with the 2009 Copenhagen 2°C goal and therefore fall within the country’s fair share range, but are not fully consistent with the Paris Agreement. If all government targets were in this range, warming could be held below, but not well below, 2°C and still be too high to be consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit.
1.5°C Paris Agreement Compatible< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s efforts are in the most stringent part of its fair share range: it is consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
Role model<< 1.5°C
World
This rating indicates that a government’s efforts are more ambitious than what is considered a fair contribution: it is more than consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.

Graph Footnotes

* The UAE government defines clean energy as renewable energy and nuclear energy.

INSTRUCTIONS: Click each data series legend item above to deactivate or activate on the graph. To zoom in on the graph - click and drag to create a box - then release. To return to full scale, simply double click anywhere on the graph.

Overview

The UAE has taken a few small but insufficient first steps on climate change. On 1 January 2018, it began deregulating energy prices and thus phasing out fossil fuel subsidies which is expected to limit the growth of emissions, but in itself is not sufficient to stop emissions from increasing. Petrol and diesel prices have been subjected to a 5% VAT rate, whereas crude oil and natural gas are still exempt. However, the prices of AED 2.51/l (EUR 0.59/l) for petrol and AED 2.76/l (EUR 0.65/l)1 for diesel are still far below the global average. Given these developments, we rate the UAE’s climate policies “Critically insufficient”—they are inconsistent with a “fair” contribution to achieving the goals set out under the Paris Agreement.

With its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), the UAE pledged to pursue “a strategy of economic diversification that will yield mitigation and adaptation co-benefits”. Part of these efforts is increasing the share of renewable and nuclear energy in the “total energy mix” to 24% by 2021. Although this is not clearly specified in the NDC, we assume that this target refers to the electricity mix based on a number of government statements. Therefore, we rate UAE’s NDC “Highly insufficient”. This means that the UAE’s climate commitment in 2021 is not consistent with holding warming to below 2°C, let alone limiting it to 1.5°C as required under the Paris Agreement, and is instead consistent with warming between 3°C and 4°C. If all countries were to follow the UAE’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C. Also under current policies, emissions will grow. The deregulation of energy prices is an important element to limit emissions growth, but alone not sufficient to stop emissions from increasing.

The UAE’s NDC does not provide an economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions target. Instead, it describes several measures targeting all sectors of the economy, without presenting abatement targets in terms of emission reductions. The level indicated as the NDC target in our graph above reflects the only quantifiable element—the target for clean energy by 2021—slightly more ambitious than current policy projections.

The UAE’s greenhouse gas emissions would reach 369 to 400 MtCO2e/a excl. LULUCF in 2030, which is approximately a 55% to 68% increase above 2010 levels or a 486% to 535% increase above 1990 levels. One important policy included here is the deregulation of energy prices, i.e. the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies, which the UAE started in August 2015. This phase-out is essential for short-term mitigation of climate change, bringing the UAE close to the emission levels resulting from the clean energy target in their NDC. However, implemented policies are not sufficient to stop emissions from increasing further after 2020.

In a recent statement, the UAE announced their Energy Strategy for 2050. We find that the targets for the energy split in the strategy would have no additional impact on emissions even if the strategy were fully implemented. The exact definition of the efficiency target included in the strategy is unclear, so the full potential impact on emissions of the complete strategy cannot be quantified at present.

On 14 June 2017, the UAE cabinet adopted the country’s first National Climate Change Plan covering the period of 2017-2050, overseen by the UAE Council on Climate Change and the Environment. It is designed as a framework for all mitigation and adaptation efforts across the country as well as setting mandates reflected in the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 (UAE Government, 2010; MOCCAE, 2015). The plan sets out a process to establish an economy-wide emission reduction target by 2020, to develop a national adaptation plan and to diversify the UAE’s private sector (MOCCAE, 2018). The CAT current policy projections do not quantify the national climate change plan because it also does not yet appear to include clearly defined mitigation actions.

1 | As of October 1, 2018.

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