Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index for the UAE, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The UAE has taken some preliminary, but still insufficient, steps on climate action. According to Climate Action Tracker, if all government targets were in the UAE’s range, global warming would reach between 3 and 4 degrees Celsius. Petrol and diesel prices are subject to a 5% VAT rate, whereas crude oil and natural gas are still exempt. However, diesel prices are still far below the global average.
Despite this, the region has shown willingness to divest from fossil fuels. It has ambitious clean energy targets and has broken the world record for the lowest solar energy cost multiple times. Additionally, the UAE is a major investor in renewable energy projects and companies and has committed around US$1 billion in grants and soft loans for climate projects internationally.
- A new energy strategy was launched by the UAE government in 2017. It aims to develop renewable, coal and nuclear energy sectors, with coal representing a 12% share by 2050. Nuclear reactors are set to open in 2020 and produce a 25% share of the total energy supply by the end of the year, while renewables are set to go from 7% in 2020 to 75% by 2050.
- However, the region plans to increase investment in coal over the same period, which does not conform with the need to phase out fossil fuels to meet the IPCC’s 1.5°C goal.
- According to the present plan, emissions will increase until 2030 before leveling out, resulting in a net increase.
- Policies were put in place to deregulate energy prices, phasing out subsidies in the fossil fuel sector and thus limiting its growth to some degree. Overall, the lack of a nation-wide emission reduction target and a hard-line decarbonisation of the energy sector makes the UAE’s commitment highly insufficient.
* Our Climate Change Ranking (CCPI) considers this country’s efforts toward climate change insufficient and thus has not ranked it.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.