UAE

Overall rating
Highly insufficient
Policies & action
Insufficient
< 3°C World
Domestic target
Insufficient
< 3°C World
Fair share target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Climate finance
Not assessed
Net zero target

year

2050

Comprehensiveness not rated as

Information incomplete
Land use & forestry
Not assessed

Target Overview

The UAE submitted an updated NDC in September 2022, setting an unconditional and economy-wide greenhouse gas reduction target of 31% relative to BAU in 2030, resulting in emissions of 214 MtCO2e in 2030 (excluding emissions from land use, land use change and forestry). The CAT rates this target as “Insufficient” compared to modelled domestic pathways, and “Critically insufficient” when compared to the UAE’s fair share.

In October 2021 the UAE announced its intention to reach net zero as part of the UAE Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative, becoming the first Middle Eastern and Gulf country to do so. As of October 2022, the UAE has yet to submit a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC.

UAE — Main climate targets
2030 unconditional NDC target
Formulation of target in NDC Reduction of 31% in GHG emissions, measured in CO2e, relative to BAU in 2030.
Absolute emissions level in 2030 
excl. LULUCF
214 MtCO2e
[248% above 1990]
[9% above 2010]
Status Submitted on 14 September 2022
Net zero & other long-term targets
Formulation of target Achieve net zero emissions by 2050
Absolute emissions level in 2050 
excl. LULUCF
N/A
Status Announced on 7 October 2021

The UAE submitted a stronger NDC target to the UNFCCC on 14 September 2022.

The new unconditional target is expressed as a 31% emissions reduction below BAU in 2030. It is an improvement on the previous NDC in two ways: first, the emissions reduction target was increased from 23.5% to 31%. Second, the BAU scenario was revised down from 310 MtCO2e to 301 MtCO2e.

We have estimated this new unconditional target will result in an emissions level of 214 MtCO2e by 2030 (excl. LULUCF), a 13% improvement compared to the previous target of 246 MtCO2e. The target covers all sectors of the economy and most greenhouse gases—CO2, CH4, N2O and PFCs. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and HFCs are not included due to limited data availability.

This new target represents an increase in emissions of 248% above 1990 levels and a 9% increase above 2010 levels (excl. LULUCF).

The NDC mentions some of the policies and strategies that underpin the 2030 target. This includes the UAE’s National Energy Strategy 2050, which aims for 44% of renewable and 6% of nuclear energy in installed electric capacity by 2050, while reducing final electricity demand.

This strategy also plans for 12% of coal and 38% of fossil gas-based capacity, which is inconsistent with the need to reach net-zero CO2 emissions globally by 2050. Other policies mentioned include the development of the rail and public transportation networks, emissions performance standards for cars, various energy efficiency measures and better waste management practices.

The UAE’s new NDC shows an increase in ambition, and has improved its transparency, for example in communicating the methods used to calculate both its NDC target and its BAU scenario. However, this target needs to be supported by more ambitious short-term and medium-term sectoral targets and actions, such as halting the expansion of coal-powered electricity and setting phase-out dates for other fossil fuel power generation.

UAE — History of NDC updates 2016 NDC 2020 NDC 2022 NDC
1.5°C compatible


Stronger target N/A

Economy-wide coverage


Fixed/absolute target



UAE 2016 NDC 2020 NDC 2022 NDC
Formulation of target in NDC Unconditional target:
Increasing the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 0.2% in 2014 to 24% by 2021.
Unconditional target:
Reduction of 23.5% in GHG emissions for the year 2030, relative to BAU.
Unconditional target:
Reduction of 31% in GHG emissions, measured in CO2e, relative to BAU in 2030.
Absolute emissions level
excl. LULUCF
Unconditional target:
238 MtCO2e (based on CAT estimate)
Unconditional target:
246 MtCO2e by 2030
Unconditional target:
214 MtCO2e by 2030
Emissions compared to 1990 and 2010
excl. LULUCF
Unconditional target:
288% above 1990 levels in 2021
21% above 2010 levels in 2021
Unconditional target:
301% above 1990 emissions by 2030
26% above 2010 emissions by 2030
Unconditional target:
248% above 1990 emissions by 2030
9% above 2010 emissions by 2030
CAT rating Overall rating:
Highly insufficient*
NDC target against modelled domestic pathways:
Insufficient

NDC target against fair share:
Critically insufficient
NDC target against modelled domestic pathways:
Insufficient

NDC target against fair share:
Critically insufficient
Sector coverage Energy, Transport and infrastructure, Waste Economy-wide Economy-wide
Separate target for LULUCF No No No
Gas coverage N/A CO2, CH4, N2O, and PFCs CO2, CH4, N2O, and PFCs
Target type Renewable energy generation target (no emissions target) Emissions reduction below BAU scenario Emissions reduction below BAU scenario
Explanation why the target is a fair contribution towards the global goal Not provided The NDC provides some explanation but without reference to limiting warming to 1.5°C. The NDC provides some explanation but without reference to limiting warming to 1.5°C.
Followed guidance in Decision 4/CMA.1 on target transparency Not applicable Yes Yes

* Before September 2021, all CAT ratings were based exclusively on fair share and only assessed a country’s target.

Target development timeline & previous CAT analysis

CAT rating of targets

The CAT rates NDC targets against what a country should be doing within its own borders as well as what a fair contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal would be. For what we call the ‘fair share target’, we consider both country’s domestic emission reductions and any emissions it supports abroad through the use of market mechanisms or other ways of support, as relevant.

The CAT rates the UAE's NDC target as "Insufficient" when rated against modelled domestic pathways, and "Critically insufficient" when rated against its fair share contribution. The UAE does not specify a conditional target or an international element in its NDC, so we rate the NDC target against the two rating frameworks.

CAT ratings are based on emissions excluding the LULUCF sector. To obtain the NDC emissions level excluding LULUCF, the CAT estimates LULUCF projections until 2030 to exclude these emissions in the NDC’s BAU scenario. For more details, please see the Assumptions section.

Domestic target:
Insufficient

We rate the UAE’s NDC target to reduce emissions by 31% below BAU by 2030 as “Insufficient” when compared with modelled domestic emissions pathways. The “Insufficient” rating indicates the UAE needs to substantially improve its 2030 target to be consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow the UAE’s approach, warming would reach over 2°C and up to 3°C.

Whether the UAE should receive some international climate finance to help it reduce emissions is a matter of debate. Our methods do not provide a clear answer to this question. On balance, the CAT methodology shows that the provision of a comparatively small amount of international support is consistent with the wide range of literature on fair share contributions to meeting the Paris Agreement's goals. In any case, the UAE’s NDC target achieved with its own resources would still need to be increased significantly to be in line with the 1.5°C limit.

Fair share target:
Critically insufficient

We rate the UAE’s 2030 emissions reduction target from September 2022 as “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair share contribution to climate action. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that the UAE’s NDC target in 2030 reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. the UAE’s target is not in line with any interpretation of fairness. If all countries were to follow the UAE’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.

Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled pathways and fair share) can be found here.

Net zero and other long-term target(s)

The UAE announced its intention to reach net zero by 2050 in October 2021 as part of the UAE Net Zero 2050 strategic initiative, becoming the first Middle Eastern and Gulf country to do so. As of October 2022, the UAE has yet to submit a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC, but it is expected to provide further details on its net zero strategy during COP27.

We evaluate the net zero target as ‘target information incomplete’. For the full analysis click here.

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