UAE 2030 climate plan keeps firm focus on fossil fuels

While COP28 president the UAE has slightly improved its 2030 climate target, it still plans to increase fossil fuel production and consumption and emissions are set to continue rising through 2030, according to the Climate Action Tracker's updated UAE analysis, published today.

While the 2050 Energy Strategy published early this month includes a 30% “clean power” capacity target by 2030, and a financial commitment to support it, the strategy still foresees a huge role of fossil gas in 2050, at odds with the UAE's stated goal of reaching net zero emissions by then.

The CAT estimates the UAE won’t be able to meet its NDC with the policies it has put in place, with emissions set to increase. To be 1.5°C compatible, the UAE would need to reduce its 2030 emissions by over 35% below 2021 levels. Instead, they're set to rise significantly between now and 2030.

The CAT rates the UAE’s policies and action as “Insufficient”. With less than seven years to go until 2030, the gap between the UAE’s current policies, its NDC target and a 1.5°C compatible trajectory remains worryingly large. It is also unclear how the UAE plans to reach its 2050 net zero target.

"While the UAE has updated its target, when so many governments have not, it has a long way to go on a number of levels, including policies to meet its target, and weaning itself off fossil fuels," said Santiago Woollands of NewClimate institute.

"While it's good the UAE plans to spend $54 billion on renewable energy, this is dwarfed by the national oil company's plans to invest three times that amount in oil and gas expansion, at a time when the IEA says such investments need to stop," said Sarah Heck of Climate Analytics.

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