COP28 summit host UAE's climate plans ranked 'insufficient' by experts

COP28 summit host UAE's climate plans ranked 'insufficient' by experts
2 min read
21 July, 2023
With the UAE hosting COP28 this November, its own domestic plans for climate change have been criticised by climate experts.
The chairman of COP28 Sultan al-Jaber has had nothing to say about the embarrassing criticism [Getty]

The United Arab Emirates, host of this year's COP28 UN climate summit, has set out "insufficient" plans to tackle its own contribution to climate change, an independent research group said on Thursday.

The UAE strengthened its climate pledge earlier this month to be more ambitious, and its summit leadership has called on other countries to do the same ahead of the talks in November.

But the country's new pledge would still see its CO2 emissions increase through to 2030, at odds with the sharp decrease needed to curb climate change, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) research consortium.

"There is still too little action in the real economy. The UAE is planning to increase fossil fuel production and consumption, which is inconsistent with limiting warming to 1.5C," CAT said.

Countries agreed under the Paris Agreement to take action to curb climate change to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the limit scientists say would avoid its most disastrous impacts.

The UAE's environment ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The country aims to cut emissions to 40% by 2030 compared with where emissions would have stood under a "business as usual" scenario - a target the UAE's incoming COP28 summit President Sultan al-Jaber said is nearly 10% stronger than its previous commitments.

CAT said while this was an improvement, the goal would be missed by a large margin if the UAE went ahead with plans to expand the production and consumption of fossil fuels.

"While it's good the UAE plans to spend $54 billion on renewable energy, this is dwarfed by the national oil company's plans to invest three times that amount on oil and gas expansion," said Sarah Heck of Climate Analytics, one of the research institutes that make up CAT.

Investments in nuclear energy and solar power mean the country is well on track to meet its target to have 30% of energy from clean sources by 2030. But this will not prevent the UAE from busting its overall climate goals, if fossil fuel use does not decrease, CAT said.