US special climate envoy John Kerry says the UAE’s strategic net-zero initiative is an example for other energy-producing nations to follow.
The UAE announced the initiative on Thursday to reduce carbon emissions by 2050, which includes plans to invest Dh600 billion in clean and renewable energy sources in the next three decades.
Writing on Twitter, John Kerry said: "Sticking to 1.5 C requires ambitious climate commitments. I salute UAE for heeding the call ahead of Cop26.
"Mohamed bin Zayed's Net Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative is an example for other energy-producing nations. We must take strong action in this critical decade."
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he looked forward to the UAE submitting a new climate action plan and encouraged other Gulf states to follow.
"I welcome the announcement by the United Arab Emirates of its intention to achieve net zero emissions by 2050," he said.
"I look forward to the UAE submitting a new climate action plan in line with this ambitious vision & encourage other Gulf states to follow this example ahead of Cop26."
The UAE's net-zero announcement came ahead of the crucial Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow next month, which has been described as the most important summit since the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The strategic initiative aligns with the Paris deal. Agreed to in 2015 and signed by 195 countries, including the UAE, the objective of the Paris deal is to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Britain has described Cop26 as the “last best chance” to avert climate catastrophe brought about by global warming.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson described the UAE decision as "a significant step in tackling climate change".
"Fantastic news that the UAE has become the first Gulf country to commit to Net Zero emissions by 2050," said Mr Johnson.
"This is a significant step in tackling climate change and I hope more countries commit to Net Zero ahead of Cop26."
Cop26 president Alok Sharma said he hoped the "historic announcement" would urge others in the region to make similar commitments.
"I am delighted that the UAE has announced it will reach net zero carbon by 2050," Mr Sharma wrote on Twitter.
"As the first net zero carbon commitment in the Gulf, this is an historic announcement I look to others in the region to also announce ambitious climate action commitments ahead of Cop26."