The Middle East is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. If scientists’ most dire predictions come true, the vast expanses of the Middle East could resemble Ethiopia’s Afar Desert, while the shining Gulf coastal towns could be inundated with rising waters by the end. of the century, recalls The Guardian.
“This is a really difficult question because the interests of ruling elites conflict with the interests of citizens,” said Jim Krane, energy research analyst at Rice University Baker Institute in Houston. “The ruling elites all depend on oil rents for the survival of their regimes. They need the oil industry to stay alive to stay in power. ”
As COP26 approaches, Gulf leaders are pushing back some criticism, arguing that the Gulf region is not one of the major emitters of carbon dioxide, either now or historically. On the contrary, the region claims to be responsible for only 4.7% of global carbon emissions, eclipsed by pollution from Europe, America and again China.
The United Arab Emirates would even be the engine of the Gulf in environmental matters, being the first country in the region to have ratified the Paris agreement. It would now be the least dependent on oil for government revenue. Last week, the country notably announced a “net zero by 2050” initiative to be launched with 163 billion dollars as well as the appointment of a new Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mariam Almheiri.
The plan is still in its infancy, but the direction is clear: it has pledged to depend 50% on renewables and nuclear power for its electricity by 2050. Abu Dhabi’s national oil company has also said that ‘it would source 100% of electrical energy from nuclear and solar. The Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum solar park is thus expected to be the largest and cheapest single-site solar park in the world, with an expected generation capacity of up to 5,000 MW.
The deeply competitive Gulf states are following suit. Qatar, for example, has appointed a climate minister, Bahrain is targeting net zero by 2050, and Kuwait has a new emissions plan.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, which seldom likes to be overtaken by the United Arab Emirates, had previously announced that it would increase its share of renewables in power generation from an insignificant 0.3% to 50%. by 2030, and would plant 10 billion trees in the coming decades.
Over the past weekend, the world’s largest oil producer hosted an unprecedented Middle East Green Initiative summit in Riyadh, an event that drew broad speeches of approval from Prince Charles and John Kerry. The country pledged it would achieve net zero carbon emissions within its borders by 2060, before declaring that it would reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tonnes per year by 2030, more than double its previous objective.