UAE to tally greenhouse emissions in five emirates

The greenhouse emissions of the UAE's Northern Emirates will come under scrutiny this year in a study to be carried out by the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence.

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Greenhouse emissions in the Northern Emirates will be studied this year in an effort to measure and manage the UAE’s carbon footprint.

The Ministry of Environment and Water yesterday said the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, or DCCE, would finish the study by the end of this year.

Studies for Abu Dhabi and Dubai have already been completed.

Once the job is done the country’s decision-makers will “have a clear picture of the UAE’s emissions”, said Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water.

“That would help us in setting policies and targets, although under the Kyoto Protocol the UAE is not obliged to reduce its emissions,” Dr bin Fahad said.

Under its Kyoto obligations, the UAE has to measure and then report its overall emissions using a method developed by the United Nations.

The latest report, filed in 2010, shows the UAE produced 129,550 gigagrams (Gg) of greenhouse gases in 2000.
The energy sector was by far the largest source of climate pollutants with emissions of 116,114 Gg.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi recently finished its investigation into the capital’s carbon footprint and the DCCE finished its study on Dubai yesterday. Its findings are expected to be unveiled at the end of the month.

With a detailed analysis from the other five emirates, decision makers will be able to identify priorities in reducing emissions, said Waleed Salman, chairman of the DCCE.

“Establishing a carbon footprint is the basis for any successful carbon management strategy,” Mr Salman said.

The report will use last year’s data and will estimate greenhouse gas emissions from five sectors: energy, industry, land use, agriculture and waste.

Carbon dioxide, released as fossil fuels are burned, is the main component of greenhouse gas emissions, but other gases will also be measured.

An important one is methane, which is released by landfills and is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse effect.

Ivano Iannelli, chief executive of DCCE, said a major challenge for the project would be to persuade companies and entities and that a critical look at their emissions would be beneficial to them.

“The complexity here is not the data, it is getting the system up and running,” Mr Iannelli said.

“What we have to do in the first phase is capacity building, so we actually map out the stakeholders and we engage with them to train them, to share knowledge, to share vision.”

While providing the necessary data may initially mean extra work for the large emitters, it can also give them a valuable perspective on how efficiently they are using energy resources, he said.

“It is actually just a management practice of incorporation of [carbon dioxide] data inside their reporting mechanisms,” said Mr Iannelli.