Oil-Rich UAE Leads Emissions Accountability

oil, carbon footprint, greenhouse gas, carbon emissions, Abu Dhabi has the world’s 5th highest proven oil reserve and the 6th highest reserve of natural gas. This is a hydrocarbon-based economy that – at first glance – should have no incentive to reduce their carbon footprint. And yet the United Arab Emirates as a whole seems to be taking climate change a lot more seriously than certain western nations.

The Dubai Carbon Center of Excellence (DCCE) will collect greenhouse emissions data for five of the seven United Arab Emirates by the end of 2013, The National reports. Data for both Abu Dhabi and Dubai has already been collected and those findings are expected to be unveiled towards the end of January.
Dr. Rashid bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water told the paper that collecting this data will provide “a clear picture of the UAE’s emissions.”

This in turn will inform what policies and targets should be put in place in order to control future emissions.

As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, the UAE is required to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions using a system that was set up by the United Nations. But that is all that they are obliged to do.

Yet, acutely aware of the threat that climate change poses to all nations, and formerly berated for their high per capital emissions in the past, the UAE has stepped up their reductions plan – particularly Abu Dhabi, which is hosting Abu Dhabi Sustainability week in Abu Dhabi from January 13-17th.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi has conducted an independent tally of Abu Dhabi’s emissions.

“The latest report, filed in 2010, shows the UAE produced 129,550 gigagrams (Gg) of greenhouse gases in 2000,” according to Vesela Todorova with The National. “The energy sector was by far the largest source of climate pollutants with emissions of 116,114 Gg,” she adds.

Although the government is willing to be more transparent, the real challenge is to convince companies that it is beneficial for them to disclose their carbon footprint, says Ivano Iannelli, chief executive of DCCE.

He told the paper that getting a reporting system up a running is trickier than the data itself and that in time, doing so will enable companies to understand how efficiently they are managing their energy resources.

:: The National

Image of camel in front of Dubai cityscape, Shutterstock

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