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Tue 17 Sep 2019 12:16 PM

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Video: Can UAE reach its carbon footprint goals?

About 148 countries have signed and ratified the Paris Climate Agreement and the UAE was the first to make its mark.

But last year, when the United Nations Framework of Climate control released a report stating that only 16 countries make the cut, UAE is nowhere to be seen on the list. Rather, it was far from it.

The Paris Agreement requires each country to submit its own Nationally Determined Contribution, as the targets it wants to achieve, which can be a bit vague. Climate Action Tracker, the media watchdog for greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint ranks the UAE places the UAE as highly inefficient in meeting its targets. UAE’s climate commitment in 2021 is not consistent with holding warming to below 2°C, let alone limiting it to 1.5°C. If the world follows the UAE’s approach, we may be heating the planet by 3°C and 4°C, rather than cooling down.

Last year, Dubai was on the front cover of the National Geographic July edition. And no, not for good reasons.

With the UAE ranking 7th among the highest CO2 emissions per annum per capita, Dubai's vision to have the least carbon footprint by 2050, gave it the title 'World's Most Improbable Green City' by the magazine.

In 1990, the UAE emitted 32.6 tonnes of CO2 per person per year. In 2010, the figure dropped to 21.9 tonnes per person per year. With implemented policies, the UAE’s greenhouse gas emissions projections reach 280 to 300 MtCO2e/in 2030, which is approximately a 45% to 57% increase above 2010 levels and are currently way above the carbon cap.

But who is to blame?

The UAE has launched a Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to produce 7% of all energy from renewable by 2021, 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2050.

But can it get there?

A quick glance at the official report from DEWA shows that only 4% of all energy was produced from renewable in 2017.

In Abu Dhabi, the amount of electricity produced from renewable was 1%.

It has taken some major initiatives, such as the launch of the world’s largest on-site solar park, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, which with an investment of 50 billion USD aims to generate 5000 MW of energy by 2030.


Road Transport accounts for a quarter of all your carbon footprint in Dubai. With Dubai having the highest number of cars per capita and only 14% of the population using the public transport, can it really make carbon footprints disappear?

Seems like a long shot. Take electric and hybrid cars for instance. If you do the math, there are over 3.4 million cars registered, only 4,000 are hybrid, of which 1000 were fully electric, which means less than 99% of all cars run on petrol/diesel.

Dewa even doubled the number of charging points in the city, there are 200 charging stations for 4000 cars.

The government refuses to be complacent. RTA just added 200 new Tesla electric cars this year and plans to have half of all its taxis to be electric/hybrid by 2021.

But the only buyer of these cars is still the government. Even though early adopters have many incentives, from free green parking to no vehicle registration fees, and free charging. But if residents don’t make the move, they will have to pay a huge price.

(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)