UAE Accelerates to Net-Zero with Nationwide Emissions Reduction of 40% by 2030
Following the UAE Cabinet’s approval of the Third Update of the country’s Second Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has announced a comprehensive roadmap to achieving 40% emission reduction by 2030 compared to business as usual.
The Third Update of the Second NDC marks a nationwide emissions reduction commitment with clear targets set for all domestic sectors. This will bring the entire nation together, including the public and private sector, to accelerate the UAE’s journey to Net Zero emissions by 2050.
Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: "The Third Update of the Second NDC marks a step-change in the nation’s approach to greenhouse gas emission reduction.
“In the Year of Sustainability, when our nation hosts COP28, this milestone announcement underlines our national commitment to more ambitious climate action. The UAE believes that climate action across every aspect of our economy is vital for creating a prosperous future.
“The UAE, under the leadership of our President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, views climate action not only as a strategic imperative for the environment and our future generations, but also as an opportunity for sustainable economic growth and socially inclusive prosperity.
“We have progressively raised ambition in less than three years, highlighted by the commitment to reduce emissions by 23.5% in our Second NDC; decreased this further to 31% in our Second Updated NDC; and pushed our efforts even further to reach a reduction of 40% in our Third Update of our Second NDC compared to business as usual.”
A bold approach with clear targets
Despite being officially classified as a developing country, the UAE has taken a further step in its commitment and is following the model of developed countries for its Third Update of its Second NDC by using fixed level and base year targets.
Accordingly, net greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced from an expected 208 MtCO2e, as announced in the Updated Second NDC in 2022 to 182 MtCO2e by 2030. This marks an absolute emissions reduction of 19% compared to the 2019 base year level.
The UAE’s voluntary and proactive new approach ensures that its emission reduction goals are transparent and easier to track, resulting in beneficial outcomes that align directly with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
All domestic sectors such as power and water generation, heavy industry, transport, waste, buildings, and agriculture will collectively reduce emissions as per specific sectoral targets.
The nation has developed a concrete implementation roadmap, including improved governance structures and new policy initiatives.
The new update also reflects the UAE’s commitment to the outcomes of Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees while pursing all measures to limit it to well below 1.5 degree by end of this century.
A Pro-Climate, Pro-Growth Strategy
The Third Update of the Second NDC builds on the UAE Cabinet’s approval of the recently announced updated UAE National Energy Strategy 2050 and comprehensive National Hydrogen Strategy, which has emerged as one of the most important clean energy sources available today.
The UAE plans to triple its investments in renewable energy in the coming seven years and establish a specialised national research and development centre for the hydrogen sector.
All these reflects the UAE’s ‘pro-climate, pro-growth’ philosophy - the desire to reduce the UAE’s environmental footprint, while driving economic, social, and sustainable opportunities that climate action creates.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment engaged all entities in a nationwide process to update the NDC, with all levels of government (including federal-, emirate-, and city- and municipality-level) working together to develop the roadmap to reach 2030 targets.
The UAE conducted over 100 bilateral meetings with public and private entities, as well as dedicated workshops, creating more than 110 opportunities for stakeholders to contribute to the process, resulting in around 800 feedback submissions.
These were closely considered by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment as part of the development of the updated NDC. Throughout the process, the Government considered the needs of vulnerable groups, including youth, women, children, and people of determination.