UAE’s COP28 Leadership Faces Criticism as Climate Plan Falls Short

The climate plan of the host nation for the COP28 climate summit has been demoted to the lowest category. Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a collaboration of climate analysts and think tanks, now categorises the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) climate plan as “critically insufficient.”

CAT evaluates countries’ climate plans, known as “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs), to determine if they are adequate in contributing to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Despite the UAE recently enhancing its planned targets, CAT notes the absence of corresponding policies to support these targets.

Dr. Niklas Hohne, an analyst from New Climate Institute and a professor focused on emission reduction, emphasised the need for the UAE to reduce its emissions, especially given its high per capita emissions and GDP. According to CAT, the UAE’s actions, such as awarding contracts for fossil fuel expansion, contradict the discussions at the climate summit.

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In contrast to the announcements made at COP, more scrutiny reveals that the UAE has more work to do in reducing emissions, as highlighted by Tom Evans from think tank E3G. While CAT had already labelled the UAE’s plan as “insufficient,” the recent downgrade to “critically insufficient” is partly attributed to missing data on greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from air conditioning, prevalent in Dubai’s warm climate.

Dr. Hohne expressed disappointment in the UAE’s downgrade, especially considering its role as the COP28 host, emphasising the leadership responsibility to pursue environmentally sound practices. Despite praising the UAE’s strides in renewable power investments, he noted that these efforts are outweighed by investments in oil and gas.

Notably, other countries receiving a “critically insufficient” rating from CAT include major fossil fuel producers like Russia and Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey, Singapore and Thailand.