UAE ramps up efforts to reduce carbon emissions

The UAE government recently approved a plan to increase the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 23.5% to 31%. "We will continue to take effective actions against climate change and advance the goal of the '2050 Zero Emissions Strategic Initiative'," said the UAE's special envoy on climate change.

The UAE submitted two nationally determined contributions to climate change to the United Nations in 2015 and 2020. The newly approved plan will further increase emission reduction efforts on this basis. It is estimated that by 2030, approximately 93.2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions can be reduced. , mainly in the fields of power, industry and transportation.

In recent years, the UAE has launched a series of measures to accelerate energy transformation and explore sustainable development paths. In 2017, the UAE formulated the "2050 Energy Strategy", planning to invest 600 billion UAE dirhams (1 US dollar equals 3.67 UAE dirhams), and increase the proportion of clean energy in the energy structure to 50% by 2050. In October 2021, the UAE announced the "2050 Zero Emissions Strategic Initiative", striving to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. The UAE is the first among oil-producing countries in the Middle East to propose a net-zero emissions strategy.

According to data released by the government, in the past 15 years, the UAE has invested more than $40 billion in clean energy. According to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency, in 2011, the cumulative installed capacity of renewable energy power generation in the UAE was only 13 megawatts, and by 2020 it will exceed 2,500 megawatts.

Solar energy and nuclear energy are the focus of the development of clean energy in the UAE. In the hinterland of the desert south of downtown Dubai, the Maktoum Solar Park with a total investment of 50 billion UAE dirhams is under construction. Around the 262-meter-high heat-collecting tower, a square array of heat-collecting mirrors and solar panels continues to extend outwards. The Dubai 700 MW solar thermal and 250 MW photovoltaic solar power plant project contracted by Shanghai Electric is located here. This project is one of the solar thermal photovoltaic projects with the largest installed capacity, largest investment scale and largest heat storage capacity in molten salt tanks in the world. When fully put into operation, it will allow 320,000 households to use clean electricity and reduce carbon emissions by 1.6 million tons per year. The CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority said: "The Maktoum Solar Park is a key project in the development of clean energy in Dubai. We will implement more pioneering projects to diversify clean energy in Dubai for the benefit of future generations."

In terms of nuclear energy, the UAE's first nuclear power plant, the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant, was put into operation in August 2020. The nuclear power plant has a total of 4 reactors with a total installed capacity of 5,600 megawatts, which can meet 1/4 of the electricity demand of the UAE after it is fully put into operation.

The UAE has also continuously improved its ability to cope with climate change through measures such as restoring coastal ecosystems. In order to improve its ecological carbon sink capacity, the UAE has actively expanded the coverage of mangrove plantations, announcing that it will plant 100 million mangrove seedlings by 2030.

The UAE will host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change next year. The Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates said that climate change is a common challenge faced by all countries and requires unity and accelerated action. "We will demonstrate more measures to address climate change and effectively promote actions to address climate change."

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