UAE commits to net-zero carbon emission by 2050

As the world moves toward a net-zero emission future, the UAE will not be left behind. The popular emirate has committed to spending more than $160 billion to reach this goal by 2050.

By making this pledge, the UAE becomes the first Gulf state to set the goal. This is an upgrade over its previous target of getting 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by the same year. The initiative, tagged “UAE Net-Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative”, was revealed at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

This comes as the UAE is reaching milestones in renewable energy in recent times. The shift to environmentally sustainable power started in 2009 with commissioning a utility-scale PV solar project in Abu Dhabi. The Gulf nation has since then contracted out major renewable energy projects.

The announcement came ahead of COP26 climate talks to be hosted by United Nations in Glasgow, Scotland. Dubai, a popular tourist hotspot, has a Shams programme for installing rooftop solar panels and has since installed more than 400 MW.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said, “We are committed to seize the opportunity to cement our leadership on climate change within our region… as we pivot our economy and nation to net zero. With an investment of over Dh600 billion in renewable energy, our vision for a clean future is clear.”

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, commented, “In achieving climate neutrality in the UAE by 2050, we aim to develop an approach that both drives sustainable economic growth and is an example of working together to achieve a better future for humanity.”

Currently, the UAE is a prominent exporter of oil and gas, with 30 percent of its revenue tied to fossil fuel, but it has been trying to diversify its economy. It also has one of the highest emissions rates per capita. UAE maintains a $240 billion sovereign wealth fund that has invested in renewable energy through its Masdar subsidiary.