Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced that the UAE will invest $163 billion in clean and renewable energy over the next several years to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
This makes it the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to launch a concrete initiative to achieve that climate commitment.
The country has taken many steps in the past year, coinciding with the country’s 50th anniversary, to attract foreign investment and help the economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The UAE will play its global role in combating climate change and all institutions will work as one team to achieve it. We are committed to seizing the opportunity to cement our leadership on climate change within our region and take this key economic opportunity to drive development, growth and new jobs as we pivot our economy and nation to net zero.”
In line with the initiative, the UAE’s Masdar has recently signed an agreement with Iraq to develop five solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the country that will have a combined capacity of one gigawatt (GW). The project is expected to help Iraq’s efforts to achieve its clean energy and climate change goals.
According to reports, the UAE, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has invested $40 billion in clean energy in the past 15 years. Its first nuclear power plant, Barakah, has been connected to the national grid and the country aims to produce 14 GW of clean energy by 2030, up from about 100 MW in 2015. It has also pledged to plant 30 million mangrove seedlings by 2030.
UAE in its second “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC), aims to reduce emissions by 23.5 percent compared to “business as usual” by 2030. The NDC paper was submitted to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change as part of the UAE’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, a global treaty on climate change.