Paris Agreement targets
The UAE submitted its updated NDC in December 2020. The new target is expressed as a 23.5% reduction below the BAU scenario in 2030. The BAU uses the year 2016 as a reference point and does not take into consideration the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic growth. However, the NDC mentions that the speed of economic recovery will feed into the “UAE’s ongoing review of its climate and energy goals”.
We calculate the target to be 246 MtCO2e, excluding LULUCF, which falls within the CAT’s emissions estimate for current policies, taking into consideration the effects of the pandemic (239–278 MtCO2e). The UAE could strengthen its target by reflecting recent policy developments beyond 2016 and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in its BAU scenario.
The UAE does not have a net-zero target, nor has it submitted a long-term strategy to the UNFCCC. The UAE has issued a 2017–2050 National Climate Plan, but it does not include an emissions reduction target, nor does it refer to long-term mitigation actions beyond the electricity sector.
The NDC target has not yet been translated into domestic legislation. However, it mentions some of the policies and strategies that underpin the 2030 target. This includes the UAE’s National Energy Strategy 2050, which aims for 50% of renewable and nuclear energy in installed electric capacity by 2050, while substantially reducing final electricity demand. This strategy also plans for 12% of coal and 38% of natural 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 CAT rates UAE's target as "Insufficient" when rated against modelled domestic pathways ("domestic target"), and "Critically insufficient" when rated against the fair share contribution ("fair share target"). UAE does not specify a conditional target or an international element in its NDC, so we rate the same target against the two rating frameworks.
We rate the United Arab Emirates’ 2030 NDC target as “Insufficient” when compared with domestic pathways derived from global least cost modelled domestic pathways. The “Insufficient” rating indicates that the UAE’s domestic target in 2030 needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 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.
We rate the United Arab Emirates’ 2030 NDC target as “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair-share contribution to climate action. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that the UAE’s fair share target in 2030 reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. The UAE’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit. 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.
Last NDC update
The United Arab Emirates submitted its updated NDC in December 2020. The update includes the UAE’s first emissions reduction target for 2030. The updated NDC aims for a decrease in emissions of 23.5% below business as usual (BAU) in 2030. This would translate to an emissions level of 246 MtCO2e, excluding LULUCF.
In its first NDC, the United Arab Emirates did not have an emissions reduction target, only a clean energy target for 2021. As such, the 2030 emissions reduction target in the second NDC represents clear progress compared to the previous one.
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. We evaluate the net zero target as ‘target information incomplete’ (see more information under net zero target tab).