Abu Dhabi: The capital has released its first report on greenhouse gas emissions from every sector in the emirate to help in the global battle against climate change by reducing the emissions.

A greenhouse gas is an atmospheric gas which absorbs solar radiation and traps it within the Earth’s atmosphere, causing climate change.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), which accounts for 78.6 per cent of all emissions, tops the list of greenhouse gases emitted by the emirate, whereas the energy sector is the highest source with 72.6 per cent of direct emissions, according to the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi’s results of its inaugural Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Project for 2010.

The inventory is a further testament to the UAE’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which requires signatory countries to establish and maintain a database on the GHG emissions responsible for climate change. The process was conducted according to international procedures and guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is the first cycle in a continuous and long-term process to provide comprehensive and accurate information according to international best standards, and will be updated every two years.

It is part of EAD’s strategic priority to ensure that air is clean and to minimise climate change and its impacts, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary general of EAD, said, while releasing the report. “Besides allowing us to monitor and assess the greenhouse gases that are affecting the Emirate’s air quality, the inventory allowed us to collaborate and transfer knowledge to our partners in both public and private sectors,” she said.

She said the inventory will contribute to the government’s objective of integrating economic, social and environmental goals into strategy formation and policy-making for minimising emissions.

From an international perspective, the volume of GHG emissions by the Abu Dhabi Emirate — equivalent to approximatley 100 million tonnes of CO2 — is small, considering that the total emissions for the UAE is less than 0.5 per cent of the global total, the official said.

However, the UAE and especially Abu Dhabi have been dubbed as one of the largest contributors of carbon emissions, based on the per-capita emissions. But that is not the proper parameter to assess the emissions, considering the emirate’s small population, according to according to Shaikha Ahmad Al Hosani, director of environmental monitoring and analysis at EAD. Emissions based on a per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and per kWh [kilowatt-hour] electricity produced reflects the real picture, she said.

Moreover, significant emissions are attributed to the support of economic activities in other emirates and internationally, through the export of power, oil and gas, minerals, chemicals, metals, and foodstuff, or through business development and tourism, she said.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the inventory will help Abu Dhabi to quantify the exact amount of emission reductions achieved by installing renewable energy and by increasing efficiency. Abu Dhabi gains the ability to correlate the emission reductions with air quality, cost-saving and national security and energy policy. Highlighting the vision of the late Shaikh Zayed, she said the UAE’s initiatives in renewables, efficiency and innovation, commercialisation of carbon capture and storage technology will help fulfil the international commitment to limit warming to two degrees Celsius, she said.