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COP28 Host UAE’s Updated Climate Plan ‘Insufficient’ to Meet 1.5C Goal, Report Suggests

CRISIS - Atmospheric CO2 Levels by Martina Igini Middle East Jul 21st 20232 mins
COP28 Host UAE’s Updated Climate Plan ‘Insufficient’ to Meet 1.5C Goal, Report Suggests

Despite “new and stronger” climate plan, the UAE will miss the 1.5C target “by a large margin”, according to a new report.

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) strategy to curb emissions is “insufficient” despite COP28 host nation announcing a “new and stronger” climate plan earlier this month, a new report has found.

In a third update of its National Determined Contributions (NDCs) issued last week, the UAE set an “ambitious” target of reducing emissions by 40% by the end of the decade, up 9% from the previous target. 

“Leading by example ahead of COP28, the UAE has enhanced its efforts to reduce emissions and developed the UAE Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative, which presents improved near-term targets for 2030, a target setting methodology change, and detailed policies,” the NDC reads.

The efforts outlined in the new UAE climate plan, however, are hailed “insufficient” by the non-profit Climate Action Tracker (CAT), which said CO2 emissions are expected to increase through to 2030 as the country plans to further increase fossil fuel production and consumption, at odds with the urgent decrease needed to curb global warming.

Already the world’s seventh-largest producer of oil, the UAE is planning to expand oil and gas production in the coming years as part of the goal to reach” “gas self-sufficiency” and increase exports. The expansion will be mainly financed by the state-owned oil company ADNOC, which has set out a US$150 billion investment plan. 

The company’s chief, Sultan Al-Jaber, was appointed in January as the COP28 president, sparking a backlash from climate advocates and environmentalists, who fear his connection to ADNOC – which pumps almost all the crude oil in the UAE and produces about 3.2 million barrels a day – will hinder progress on global fossil fuel phase-out. In May, 133 MEPs, senators, and representatives from the United States and the European Union appealed to the heads of their countries and the United Nations to oust Al-Jaber as president of November’s climate summit.

“Current policies are still set to lead to increasing rather than decreasing emissions in 2030, due to a continued expansion of fossil fuel production and use,” CAT said in its analysis. “With the UAE’s emissions still set to increase by 2030, we estimate it won’t be able to meet this new NDC target, nor the former one.” 

According to the non-profit, current policies to scale up nuclear and solar energy put the UAE “well on track” to meet its 30% clean energy target by 2030 and 50% by 2050 but this advancement alone “will not reverse the emissions increase.”

With atmospheric CO2 levels reaching historic high levels and global temperatures continuing to rise, COP28 is now seen as one of the last chances for world leaders to take meaningful action and phase-out fossil fuels.

You might also like: Negotiators Disappointed at Bonn Climate Talks’ Weak Outcome Ahead of COP28

About the Author

Martina Igini

Martina is the Managing Editor at Earth.Org. She holds two BA degrees, in Translation/Interpreting Studies and Journalism, and a MA in International Development from the University of Vienna. After working at the United Nations Global Communication Department in Vienna, she joined a newspaper in Italy as a reporter before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. Her interests include sustainability and the role of public policy in environmental protection with a focus on developing countries.

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