environment minister UAE Abu Dhabi Ne'ma event
Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister for Climate Change and Environmen, says UAE is on its path to achieve net-zero 2040 targets. File photo Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE, on its path of achieving its targets outlined under the “UAE Net Zero” by 2050, will create 200,000 new jobs,” said Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).

Al Mheiri told a press conference on Thursday in Dubai that the UAE will see a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase by three per cent, thanks to the goals set out by “UAE Net Zero”.

The Minister also outlined six sectors that need to be decarbonised.

Al Mheiri identified them as “Power & Water, Industry, Transport, Buildings, Waste, Agriculture where strategies are in place to reduce carbon emissions.

In the path to achieving UAE Net Zero by 2050, the Minister said that MOCCAE has engaged more than 45 stakeholders, held over 100 meetings so far and addressed over 800 feedback points for the Net Zero initiative.

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Five key steps

The Minister said five key steps have been drawn up for the successful implementation and execution of UAE Net Zero programme.

“Staying committed to UAE Net Zero targets, an empowered governance, design and implement government interventions, prioritising decarbonisation measures and building an enabling eco-system are sure ways to achieve our goals,” she added.

Net Zero initiative

The UAE Net Zero by 2050 is a national drive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The initiative aligns with the Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to prepare long-term strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The initiative aligns with the Principles of the 50 — the UAE’s road map for accelerating national economic development to mark the country’s golden jubilee year, as the nation enters a new 50-year cycle of growth. The major economic opportunities offered by the path to net zero directly support a vision to develop the Emirates into the most dynamic economy in the world.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) is leading the efforts to execute the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative and ensure collaboration at national level to fulfil this objective.

During the press conference in Dubai, Al Mheiri remarked that the UAE is ready to host the world and that a definite plan and strategy has been readied to achieve the UAE Net Zero by 2050. “We are two weeks away for COP 28. We are very excited to host the world to be able to talk about one of the biggest threats we are facing today,” the Minister said.

She added: “COP 28, however, is not the end for there will be so much more after that.”

The Minister shared the UAE Net Zero 2050 strategy announced at the annual government meeting recently.

“This is something the UAE does every year. We bring together all government officials and talk about some of the achievements that the UAE has done, but also talking about some of the next steps. It is really exciting that we have finished all the work that was needed to be able to announce the strategy. The strategy is not just our Ministry plan — but that of the whole country. It is a new pathway that is “pro-climate” and “pro- growth,” said Al Mheiri.

Founding Father sows the seed

Al Mheiri recalled the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan set the tone for climate change way back. “The heart of the UAE development story is really the legacy from our founding fathers who raised the bar for our climate situation. There are stories during his time that he would never cut down a tree. If there was a tree on the way of a road construction he would move the road around. He raised the bar for us. It is on his guiding principles that we are on our path of UAE Net Zero 2050.”

The Minister said: “Last year in Sharm El Sheikh, we announced the net zero pathway and I spoke about the NDC. We stressed on how we want to slash our emissions by 2050 time frame.”

“Since then we have been working with stakeholders in the country to get on our mission goal. We have seven emirates and we are getting everyone on board to make sure we are on a committed pathway to UAE Net Zero 2050.”

“At COP 28 we want to lead by example. And we are on that mission.”

Achievements so far

Al Mheiri stressed on the achievements so far. “The Etihad Rail Network, solar parks, nuclear power station which will be ready in a few months’ time are all in the step towards our larger goal.”

“The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 for example aims to triple the contribution of the renewable energy, reduce emissions from the water and energy sectors to ensure they achieve net zero by 2050, triple the share of renewable energy by 2030, increase the contribution of clean energy generation by 2030 to 32 per cent to ensure the country is on track to achieve its climate change mitigation goals among others,” elaborated the Minister. 

She added tha the UAE is also underlying its position as one of the largest producers of hydrogen by 2031.

UAE’s climate action journey

1995 — UAE joins United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change

2008 — Hosted The first edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

2009 — UAE became the permanent headquarters for IRENA

2012 — Launched the largest solar energy

2016 — Paris Agreement, launches National Climate change plan, Climate Change Council

2023 — Year of Sustainability

Current — Net Zero 2050 strategy

NDC, Paris Agreement

Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years.

The Paris agreement asks countries to update their NDCs every five years. But given the large gap between the emissions cuts required to limit global warming to 1.5°C and the emissions reductions currently planned, the Glasgow Climate Pact in November 2021 called on all countries to revisit and strengthen the targets in their NDCs in 2022.