Dubai wants Lowest Carbon Footprint in the World

14 November 2017

Lab Chat

What do you associate with Dubai? Innovation? Wealth? How about environmentally friendly? You might not yet, but that’s set to change with the UAE’s plans for a clean environment. As part of those plans, they want their largest city to have the lowest carbon footprint in the world. Read on to see how they plan to achieve it.

A boost for the environment

In October, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) announced that they would raise Dh2.4 billion towards a Dh100 billion environmental fund. The aim of the fund is to make Dubai environmentally friendly and, as part of this plan, achieve the lowest carbon footprint in the world over the next three decades.

More specifically, the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 has set targets to use 50 percent more clean energy, with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy setting a more ambitious objective. It sets out that Dubai will aim to generate 75 percent of its total power output from clean energy sources.

Gradual progress

At present, Dubai is hardly known for its clean energy utilisation. So, this change to 75% won’t happen overnight. That’s why Dubai’s plan has several milestones along the way. By 2020, they aim for 7 percent clean energy, with 25 percent by 2030.

They’re already moving steadily towards the initial 7 percent, with new solar initiatives on the horizon. In September, Dewa launched a new solar power plant with a 700MW capacity – the largest concentrated solar plant in the world. It’s just one part of the larger Solar Park which is expected to reach up to 5,000MW over the next 13 years.

The cost of change

Of course, these impressive developments don’t come for free. At the World Green Energy Summit, HSBC’s Sustainable Finance director Zoe Knight explained how huge financial investment is required, at a time where experts suggest negative emissions are the only way to meet current goals. Estimates show around $100 trillion would need to be spent on infrastructure to achieve climate targets.

Dubai isn’t shying away from that investment though. "In 2015, Dubai launched Dh100 billion 'Dubai Green Fund' to finance investments in clean energy,” explains Saeed Al Tayer, Dewa CEO. “Today, I am pleased to announce that Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has agreed to collaborate with National Bonds for launching a green fund aggregating Dh2.4 billion. The fund will also be the first major green fund that will have a dedicated arm for Sharia compliant investments.”

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