The United Arab Emirates has announced the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, a national drive to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, making the UAE the first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) nation to do so.
The initiative, announced at Expo 2020 Dubai with the attendance of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, aims to underpin dynamic economic growth alongside positive environmental impact.
Commenting on the announcement, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said, "We are committed to seize the opportunity to cement our leadership on climate change within our region and take this key economic opportunity to drive development, growth and new jobs as we pivot our economy and nation to net zero. With an investment of over AED600 billion in renewable energy, our vision for a clean future is clear."
From his side, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, "With our announcement today of our plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the UAE continues our effective role in climate control issues, adding our support to international efforts to mitigate climate change with a range of effective community and economic initiatives. In achieving climate neutrality in the UAE by 2050, we aim to develop an approach that both drives sustainable economic growth and is an exemplar of working together to achieve a better future for humanity."
The announcement aligns with the Principles of the 50 - the UAE’s roadmap 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.
Present at the announcement ceremony were H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
The ceremony was also attended by Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai; Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; and Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said, "The UAE Net Zero Strategic Initiative is an open invitation to the world to collaborate with the UAE in developing practical solutions, boosting multilateralism, and creating opportunities for sustainable socio-economic development. Critically, we will leverage the development pathway to net zero as a vehicle to create economic value, increase industrial competitiveness and enhance the UAE's standing as an attractive destination for investment, in line with the UAE’s vision of progress for the next 50 years. The UAE net zero by 2050 strategic initiative offers new opportunities for economic progress and also further establish the UAE as an ideal location to live, work, raise families and create communities."
The UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic 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 1.5 C compared to pre-industrial levels.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) will lead and coordinate efforts to execute the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative and ensure collaboration at national level to fulfil this objective. Stakeholders in key sectors, such as energy, economy, industry, infrastructure, transport, waste, agriculture, and the environment, will update relevant plans, strategies, and policies, and implement initiatives and projects to achieve net zero by 2050 in line with their needs and growth requirements.
The implementation of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative will entail close cooperation with civil society, foreign governments, and international organizations, including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is headquartered in the UAE, in Masdar City, and currently engaged with 184 countries.
"The whole of the government’s approach, combining the strategic thinking of key ministries together with the private sector, will leverage innovation and the breakthrough technologies of the Fourth Industrial Age. In so doing, we will call on the contribution of our academic institutions, large scale industrial players and innovative SMEs to create solutions that both drive down emissions, while creating jobs and sustainable economic growth," added Al Jaber. "We will also partner with our friends and allies around the world to share knowledge, expertise and practical lessons so that our experience contributes to global progress and the UAE can benefit from best-in-class approaches from around the world."
The UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change will continue to enhance the nation’s climate action efforts by building international partnerships and joint initiatives that support the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative. The country is leveraging its strong international relations to advance shared interests and drive sustainable development.
The deployment and use of clean energy solutions is one of the main pillars of the UAE’s model of addressing the challenge of climate change and reducing GHG emissions. The country began financing clean energy projects more than 15 years ago, and has invested over US$40 billion in the sector to date. Current trends predict the production capacity of clean energy, including solar and nuclear, to reach 14 GW by 2030, up from about 100 MW in 2015 and 2.4 GW in 2020.