The United Arab Emirates, is a country too often misjudged and considered as part of the ‘’problem’’, while I think it could in the contrary play a big part towards the ‘’solution’’. 

Indeed, they have commit to reduce their green house gas emissions by 23.5% by 2030 and achieve net zero in 2050. 

So lets ask investigate on the solutions implemented to reach this goals:

Thinking about the value chain of the U.A.E., what are the opportunities for greenhouse gas emissions removal? 

According to the World Bank, the UAE's carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of energy totalled around 199 million metric tons in 2018. It is a country in constant economic growth and energy demand. 

The U.A.E. is a significant greenhouse gas emitter, mainly due to its reliance on fossil fuels, it will have to rely not only on the reduction of emissions but also tremendously on greenhouse emission removal to reach their 2050 commitments. Indeed the U.A.E. target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23.5% by 2030. The country has also pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. There are several SIP’s (sensitive intervention points) and opportunities in the UAE that are particularly important to address the GH removal:  

  1. A COUNTRY WITH A CLEAR VISION:  

The country is committed (hosting COP 28) and has a clear vision (see objectives given above), hence it is a great place for companies to settle that wish to develop emission removal technologies (example CCS technologies) The countries commitment will help people see the merits of investing in the removal of CO₂. The UAE has already started projects in carbon capture and storage (CCS). For example: The Al Reyadah carbon capture plant in Abu Dhabi, it captures around 800,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. In addition of the DIRECT AIR CAPTURE system already in place, there are many other opportunities of GH removal in the U.A.E 

  1. AN AMBITIOUS COUNTRY:  

The U.A.E. are well known in the GCC to be very ambitious, embarking in extravagant projects (highest tower in the world, most luxurious hotels, world islands...). The UAE is the first Arab country to have reached mars with the Hope Prob...  The country attraction for excellence is an opportunity: Why not being the first to reach NZ in the region?

  1. MAIN INDUSTRY OF THE U.A.E – OIL & GAS:   

The UAE is a major producer in the oil and gas industry with entities such as (ADNOC, DP, ENOC, DOLPHINS …). Addressing emissions from the energy sector through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures can make a significant contribution to reducing the country's carbon footprint. 

Concerning the REMOVAL of GHG, if the country starts to strongly regulate the quota of GHG allowed the energy companies will have no choice other than to invest in R&D, work with CCS companies or invest in BIOENERGY. This will allow companies to invest in research, find more stable and optimal technologies, and ultimately bring the price down, making it more affordable which will encourage utilisation... (virtuous circle). The Oil & Gas industry in the U.A.E is a prosperous one which generates billions of dollars in profits, the industry captains and the government have an opportune moment to intensify their investments into GHG removal technologies, so they can transition to an environmentally responsible energy suppliers whilst maintaining the leadership positions in the market. 

  1. WHAT IS LACKING IN THE U.A.E – WATER:  

The UAE is a desert with limited freshwater resources, and the demand for water is constantly increasing due to population growth and economic development. For now, they rely on desalinisation which is an expensive and energy-intensive process. Sustainable management of water resources, can help to reduce the energy and carbon intensity of the water sector. 

The UAE has started CLOUD SEEDING a few years ago, as a way to enhance rainfall in a region that is largely arid and has limited freshwater resources. This allows them to rely less on desalinated water, in the same time it allows AFFORESTATION making the soil more fertile and the country greener. By consequence this reduces the urban heat effect – ENHANCED WEATHERING. 

  1. AVAILABLE LAND – THE DESERT: 

Around 80% of the country is classified as desert and is largely uninhabitable. To me it seems like an opportunity for CARBON STORAGE. 

  1. DIVERSITY OF THE LAND – CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT 

The UAE has rich biodiversity (mountains, desert, sea...). It is essential to protect and conserve the current natural resources by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also by enhancing what is currently existing with SOIL CARBON SEQUESTRATION, OCEAN FERTILIZATION, BIOENERGY. 

For example: the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project, which aims to restore and protect coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and seagrasses that can sequester significant amounts of carbon. 

The opportunities are numerous and this is the efforts from the U.A.E. government, the U.A.E. industries, and U.A.E. citizen and residents that will allow an efficient transition to NZ!


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