The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) updated NDC sets an emissions reduction target of up to 23.5%, below business as usual by 2030. This translates to emissions of around 246 MtCO₂e/yr (excluding LULUCF) in 2030, which is 13% above its 2015 levels.1 Under current policies, GHG emissions are projected to increase to 29-40% above 2015 levels, which equates to 279-303 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030. This is far from the emissions reductions required to be compatible with 1.5°C pathways.
Conversely, to be 1.5°C compatible the UAE should reduce its GHG emissions by 36-49% below 2015 levels to reach 111-138 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030. The majority of emissions reductions should take place in the energy sector, followed by industrial processes and waste.
Long term pathway
The UAE does not have a net zero GHG emissions goal. To be aligned with 1.5°C compatible pathways, GHG emissions (excluding LULUCF) would need to decline to 18-39 MtCO₂e/yr or 82-92% below 2015 levels by 2050. This would require stringent and ambitious policies in the power, industry, transport sectors and the halting of oil and gas exploration.
On the road to net zero emissions, the UAE will need to balance its remaining GHG emissions through the development of carbon dioxide removal approaches, either from the land sector or technological approaches. Analysed pathways show that the power sector would be contributing negative emissions of up to -40 MtCO₂/yr in 2050 mostly based on bioenergy from carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Higher shares of renewables would allow the country to rely less on CDR technologies, which are not yet available at scale and entail high investment costs.