Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Abu Dhabi Projected to Stabilise Over Next Decade
New report by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi projects that sustainable development strategies in the emirate will help to achieve significant reduction in emission indicators by 2030
Abu Dhabi, UAE – 8 July 2019: The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) today released the results of its third Abu Dhabi Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory, which updates the baseline emission levels for the emirate, and refines projections leading up to 2030 – comprising data on both direct and indirect emissions from the energy, industrial processes, agriculture, waste, land use and forestry sectors.
Findings from the inventory indicate that key GHG emissions resulting from human activities, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), were driven by a surge in the demand for water and energy amid rapid economic and population growth in Abu Dhabi. The report showed that total greenhouse gas emissions in the capital, of which 89 percent were attributed to CO2, increased during the period 2010-2016 at an annual rate of 6 per cent in 2016 to 135.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, which is less than 0.3 per cent of total global emissions. This increase was mainly driven by power generation and water desalination, oil and gas extraction and processing, manufacturing and industrial activities, and the transportation sector.
The inventory also demonstrated that existing sustainable development strategies and targeted emissions mitigation measures are helping to ensure that Abu Dhabi remains on track to achieve significant GHG reductions in the mid-term – the emirate’s emission indicators are expected to drop to 50 per cent of the current values by the year 2030. While the energy sector was identified as the largest source of GHG emissions in 2016 (78.2 per cent), this sector is also expected to report the most substantial reduction in emissions (37 per cent) over the next decade. The latest inventory also includes information on carbon stored in Abu Dhabi’s wetlands (such as the mangroves and seagrass), for the first time.
His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment said: “In line with the directives of its visionary leadership, the UAE has embarked on a journey towards a low-carbon, green economy, guided by the UAE Green Growth Strategy that seeks to make economic development in the country more environmentally sustainable. Green economy helps improve air quality with the goal of achieving 90 percent green days annually by 2021, as outlined in the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021.”
He added: “The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) is currently collaborating with the concerned local authorities to develop a comprehensive inventory map of GHG sources and concentrations across the UAE with the aim of identifying emission hotspots and supporting mitigation actions.”
His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi applauded EAD’s role in safeguarding the environment and tackling climate change and noted that the Abu Dhabi GHG Emissions Inventory is an important step towards decarbonizing the UAE based on scientific methods and accurate data.
Patricia Espinosa, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary, commented: “I would like to commend the efforts of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) for the greenhouse gas inventories of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. These will help to further strengthen the base of knowledge needed to address climate change in the context of Abu Dhabi’s diverse and rapidly growing economy, and help the emirate fulfil its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Greenhouse gas inventory information is a key component of the convention and the Paris agreement. These inventories are critical when it comes to making domestic policy decisions. They’re also critical when it comes to ensuring transparency of information exchange amongst parties. This builds trust and confidence in the climate process itself.”
“The Abu Dhabi GHG Inventory is part of EAD’s comprehensive system for monitoring, reporting and verifying information on climate change, and an essential tool that helps us better understand key emission trends associated with rapid economic development, and it allows researchers and policy makers to model changes in emissions over time,” said H.E. Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Acting Secretary General of EAD.
“This tool will also help us develop local policies on climate action with the support and participation of several economic sectors in Abu Dhabi. The Inventory also supports the government in fulfilling its commitments to meet the national and global requirements adopted in Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, the National Climate Change Plan of the UAE, the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC,” she added.
Eng. Shaikha Al Hosani, Executive Director of the Environment Quality Sector at EAD, said: “Abu Dhabi is in a region that is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. So, to tackle harmful GHG emissions, we need to keep adopting a concentrated and coordinated cross-sectoral approach. By regularly compiling the Abu Dhabi GHG Emissions Inventory, EAD is supporting both federal and local efforts and policies to reduce man-made emissions in the emirate – an exercise that will also improve air quality and the overall state of the environment.
“Previous cycles of the GHG Emissions Inventory have already seen several entities in the UAE and abroad take serious steps to reduce their carbon footprint. This latest report will build on this progress and advance Abu Dhabi’s sustainable growth goals and environmental protection priorities,” she added.
The GHG inventories play a vital role in strengthening the capacity of local entities to efficiently track and report their emission footprint. This inventory was developed in partnership with several government bodies, including the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority and Emirates Global Aluminium, among others.
The GHG Emissions Inventory is an initiative under EAD’s Air Quality Management Programme. The launch of the third inventory followed the Preparatory Conference for the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, which was held in Abu Dhabi this year.