Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, today joined leading UAE developers and the Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) for the soft-launch of the UAE Built Environment Sustainability Blueprint.
Authored by top UAE developers, Emirates Green Building Council and the Climate Champions Team, this report sets out the key opportunities to enhance the transition of the built environment sector to net zero in the UAE. The developers leading this effort include Abu Dhabi Ports, Al Dar, Expo City, ICD Brookfield, Majid Al Futtaim, Marriott, Masdar City, Sobha Real Estate, with support provided by HSBC as sponsor. Emirates NBD acted as financial partner and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute as knowledge partner, supporting a robust assessment of the opportunities available to expedite the transition in the sector.
Held at the UAE Pavilion at Expo City in Dubai, the launch event takes place along the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28).
‘As we come togethe
r here at COP28, it is the buildings and construction sector that finds itself at the nexus of both the challenge and solution of climate change,’ said Ms Al Mubarak.
Buildings contribute to 21 percent of global greenhouse emissions which means addressing their environmental impact is ‘more critical than ever,’ she said. At the same time, the International Energy Agency has shown buildings provide more than 40 percent of the solutions needed to double energy intensity improvements, necessary for the world to achieve the Paris Agreement.
Following a roundtable held at the end of May with Al Mubarak, the working group conducted a survey among more than 75 industry representatives. According to nearly half of the respondents, ‘policies and regulations’ were seen as the top enabler to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. Approximately 17 percent of respondents said that access to green finance was the top factor, while another 15 percent highlighted the need to tackle high capital costs as the number one e
In 2021, the UAE became the first Middle Eastern country to announce a net-zero target by 2050. According to the UAE’s third Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – a plan of action that the country, along with all other signatories of the Paris Agreement, is required to declare publicly – the UAE aims to reduce its emissions for reductions of 43 metric tonnes of Carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) by 2030, compared to the business as usual scenario. The building sector is expected to deliver 85 percent of the reductions. This means halving the sectors’ emissions by 2030.
According to the UAE’s NDC, the country is already planning a number of policy initiatives to decarbonize the building sector. These include revising building codes to improve the efficiency of new buildings; introducing building energy labels; scaling up retrofitting; accelerating the installation of energy efficient cooling applications; reforming energy pricing and introducing net and gross metering for distributed renewable e
Al Mubarak acknowledged that the UAE developers are already taking ambitious steps. For example, in 2023, Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties joined the Climate Champions’ Race to Zero Campaign, pledging to cut its corporate footprint (scopes 1, 2 and critically 3) to net zero by 2050 and contribute to halving emissions by 2030. She also mentioned Expo City Dubai who launched their transition pathway in October, setting near-term 2030 targets for a 45 percent reduction of operational building emissions and 40 percent reduction of embodied building emissions. All members of the working group demonstrated leadership in going beyond business as usual and moving the market forward in its transition to a net-zero sector and some of their success stories are captured in the report.
Al Mubarak also underscored the role of both the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in setting the country’s net-zero strategy and the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in setting the built environment sector’s specific
enabling policies. These policies raise the playing field for regional action on buildings in the UAE.
The event symbolizes the creation of a developers working group as a platform for collaboration with ministries to develop the enabling policies and regulations that support the sectors’ transition. The working group offers an opportunity for the private sector to take the lead in driving the market beyond business-as-usual, thereby creating a positive ambition loop that accelerates action in the sector. It also offers an opportunity for a
‘The partnership between business and government is fundamental to our collective success and holds the potential to bring about rapid and meaningful transformation,’ said Al Mubarak.
“UAE’s commitment to transforming its built environment aligns with global sustainability goals and sets a commendable example. Initiatives like the UAE Built Environment Sustainability Blueprint are essential in the global fight against climate change, demonstrating how collaborative effo
rts between government and private sectors can lead to meaningful progress,” said Ali Al Jassim, Chairman of Emirates Green Building Council.
Source: Emirates News Agency