UAE: Over 200,000 jobs to be created through carbon net zero goal

More than 25 programmes across 6 sectors to help decarbonisation in the nation

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Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Thu 16 Nov 2023, 7:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 16 Nov 2023, 8:15 PM

The roadmap that the UAE is following to ensure net zero will create more than 200,000 jobs and increase the country’s GDP by 3 per cent. That is according to the Minster of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri who was speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, 14 days before the start of Cop28. “This is a pro-climate, pro-growth pathway,” she said. “And this is a pathway that can only be done by collective action.”

The country will focus on over 25 programs across six sectors to achieve its Net Zero 2050 strategy. “We've identified the six main sectors that need to be decarbonised,” she said. “And with this we dwelled into different policies, initiatives and projects that have to be done. And we've identified more than 25 bigger programs, some of which cut across the sectors. Some of them are very sector relevant. And these programs have been identified to be implemented and accelerated for us to achieve the near-term emission reduction.”

New tech in 6 sectors

According to Muna Alamoodi, Director of Climate Change department the six sectors identified by the country are power and water, industry, transport, building, waste and agriculture. In the power and water sector, the country wants to increase the penetration of clean energy sources, improve efficiency and adapt new technologies for storage. “We are already doing it, but we want to accelerate and do it in such a manner that it will meet the demands from the other sectors and that cope with population and economic growth,” she said.

She further elaborated that the industry sector will have a role to play when it comes to clean energy sources and support the country in developing alternative materials and using the technologies like carbon capture. The transport sector will focus on moving to hybrid, electric as well as hydrogen mobility in the future while the building sector will have codes put in place that will regulate building material and the design itself to help decarbonise the footprint of the sector. Additionally, products like green cement, steel and aluminium will be used for building.

The country will introduce specific ways of farming and agriculture that will move away from the traditional methods to use more advanced techniques that will have the least footprint.

It is for the waste management sector that the country will have to work with partners. “It is one of the sectors that is highly dependent on individuals and corporates,” she said. “So, optimising the consumption pattern is a must. We will also look into how we can minimise unnecessary use of certain materials or unnecessary waste generated.”

In addition to all this, the UAE will also focus on negative emissions. “If you are familiar with the concept of net zero, any nation cannot achieve the net zero without negative emissions,” she said. “To some extent we will have a cross-cutting of different emissions coming from different industries and activities. You will need the negative impression to sink or absorb certain amount of the emission.”

Almheiri said that to improve negative emissions, the country will be focusing on natural as well as technological methods. As part of the natural method, the country will focus on planting more mangrove trees. “We're embarking on a journey to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030,” she said.

Working with partners

Almheiri further elaborated that the ministry has been working extensively with several stakeholders from oil and gas industry giants and private sector companies to school students and influencers to engage with different communities.

“We have an engaged with over 45 stakeholders,” said Alamoodi. “We had had more than 100 meetings with different stakeholders to ensure that their inputs have been considered in the development process of the net zero. We ended up actually with over 800 feedback. It was really challenging to address all of them, but it was something that had to be done and captured.”

Almheiri also said that she was impressed with the work school students have been doing. “I was at a school and about 30 or 35 kids, they kept a diary of what they have been eating and how much of their food was wasted as part of the Nema campaign,” she said. “In the first three or four days you can see that there was a lot more on their plate leftover. Towards the end, their plate was empty. They said they didn’t realise how much they were putting in the bin and how much water we were wasting. The stories I heard from them are incredible.”

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