Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues at the national and global levels, given its economic, social and environmental impacts. This issue has received considerable and early attention in the UAE and the country has exerted numerous efforts to address the effects of climate change and to adapt to its potential impacts on ecosystems and economic sectors. In line of these efforts, the UAE has adopted important policies, including the economic diversification policy, focusing on green economy, energy sources diversification policy, focusing on renewable and clean energy and promoting energy efficiency, sustainable transport policy, sustainable urban planning, etc.


The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, in collaboration with its partners in the public and private sectors, is working to bolster efforts to deal with climate change, in terms of mitigation and adaptation, through the National Climate Change Plan 2050, adopted by the Cabinet in June 2017, and the National Climate Change Adaptation Program, adopted at the first annual meeting of the UAE Government in September 2017, in addition to other relevant policies and programs.



Reports & Studies

Bulletins / Guides



Annex I Parties/countries

Annex I Parties/countries The group of countries listed in Annex I to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Under Articles 4.2 (a) and 4.2 (b) of the UNFCCC, Annex I Parties were committed to adopting national policies and measures with the non-legally binding aim to return their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. The group is largely similar to the Annex B Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that also adopted emissions reduction targets for 2008–2012. By default, the other countries are referred to as Non-Annex I Parties.


Afforestation Planting of new forests on lands that historically have not contained forests. Afforestation projects are eligible under a number of schemes including, among others, Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol for which particular criteria apply (e.g., proof must be given that the land was not forested for at least 50 years or converted to alternative uses before 31 December 1989).

Annex II Parties/countries

Annex II Parties/countries The group of countries listed in Annex II to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Under Article 4 of the UNFCCC, these countries have a special obligation to provide financial resources to meet the agreed full incremental costs of implementing measures mentioned under Article 12, paragraph 1. They are also obliged to provide financial resources, including for the transfer of technology, to meet the agreed incremental costs of implementing measures covered by Article 12, paragraph 1 and agreed between developing country Parties and international entities referred to in Article 11 of the UNFCCC. This group of countries shall also assist countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.


The process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects. In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. In some natural systems, human intervention may facilitate adjustment to expected climate and its effects

Adaptive capacity

The ability of systems, institutions, humans, and other organisms to adjust to potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to respond to consequences

Annex B Parties/countries

The subset of Annex I Parties that have accepted greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets for the period 2008–2012 under Article 3 of the Kyoto Protocol. By default, the other countries are referred to as Non-Annex I Parties.


Atmosphere The gaseous envelope surrounding the earth, divided into five layers—the troposphere which contains half of the earth’s atmosphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the exosphere, which is the outer limit of the atmosphere. The dry atmosphere consists almost entirely of nitrogen (78.1 % volume mixing ratio) and oxygen (20.9 % volume mixing ratio), together with a number of trace gases, such as argon (0.93 % volume mixing ratio), helium and radiatively active greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) (0.035 % volume mixing ratio) and ozone (O3). In addition, the atmosphere contains the GHG water vapour (H2O), whose amounts are highly variable but typically around 1 % volume mixing ratio. The atmosphere also contains clouds and aerosols.

Agenda 21

Programme of action on sustainable development adopted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, often referred to as the “Blueprint for Sustainable Development”.
Agenda 21 has 40 chapters dealing with all aspects of sustainable development including social and economic dimensions (combating poverty and promoting human health), conservation and resource management, major groups (e.g. women, indigenous people, business and unions) and means of implementation (e.g. financial resources, transfer of technology, public awareness and education).

Best environmental practice

The application of the most appropriate combination of environmental
control measures and strategies.


The variability among living organisms from terrestrial, marine, and other ecosystems. Biodiversity includes variability at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels


Energy derived from any form of biomass such as recently living organisms or their metabolic by-products.

Best available technique

Most effective and advanced technique, the environmental impacts of
which are limited.


Biofuel A fuel, generally in liquid form, produced from organic matter or combustible oils produced by living or recently living plants. Examples of biofuel include alcohol (bioethanol), black liquor from the paper-manufacturing process, and soybean oil.
First-generation manufactured biofuel: First-generation manufactured biofuel is derived from grains, oilseeds, animal fats, and waste vegetable oils with mature conversion technologies.
Second-generation biofuel: Second-generation biofuel uses non-traditional biochemical and thermochemical conversion processes and feedstock mostly derived from the lignocellulosic fractions of, for example, agricultural and forestry residues, municipal solid waste, etc. Third-generation biofuel:
Third-generation biofuel would be derived from feedstocks such as algae and energy crops by advanced processes still under development.


The total mass of living organisms in a given area or volume; dead plant material can be included as dead biomass. In the context of this report, biomass includes products, by-products, and waste of biological origin (plants or animal matter), excluding material embedded in geological formations and transformed to fossil fuels or peat.

Carbon cycle

The term used to describe the flow of carbon (in various forms, e.g., as carbon dioxide) through the atmosphere, ocean, terrestrial and marine biosphere and lithosphere. In this report, the reference unit for the global carbon cycle is GtC or GtCO2 (1 GtC corresponds to 3.667 GtCO2). Carbon is the major chemical constituent of most organic matter and is stored in the following major reservoirs: organic molecules in the biosphere, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, organic matter in the soils, in the lithosphere, and in the oceans.

Carbon footprint

Measure of the exclusive total amount of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is directly and indirectly caused by an activity or is accumulated over the life stages of a product

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

A naturally occurring gas, also a by-product of burning fossil fuels from fossil carbon deposits, such as oil, gas and coal, of burning biomass, of land use changes (LUC) and of industrial processes (e.g., cement production). It is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) that affects the earth’s radiative balance. It is the reference gas against which other GHGs are measured and therefore has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1.

Carbon tax

Tax by governments on the use of carbon-containing fuels

Carbon market

A popular term for a trading system through which countries may buy or sell units of greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to meeting their national limits on emissions, either under the Kyoto Protocol or under other agreements, such as that among members states of the European Union.

CO2-equivalent emission

The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission that would cause the same integrated radiative forcing, over a given time horizon, as an emitted amount of a greenhouse gas (GHG) or a mixture of GHGs. The CO2-equivalent emission is obtained by multiplying the emission of a GHG by its Global Warming Potential (GWP) for the given time horizon (see Annex II.9.1 and WGI AR5 Table 8.A.1 for GWP values of the different GHGs). For a mix of GHGs it is obtained by summing the CO2-equivalent emissions of each gas. CO2-equivalent emission is a common scale for comparing emissions of different GHGs but does not imply equivalence of the corresponding climate change responses.

Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS)

A process in which a relatively pure stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial and energy-related sources is separated (captured), conditioned, compressed, and transported to a storage location for long-term isolation from the atmosphere. See also Bioenergy and carbon capture and storage (BECCS), CCS-ready, and Sequestration

Certified Emissions Reductions

CER. Unit equal to one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, which may be used by countries listed in Annex I of the Kyoto Protocol towards meeting their binding emission reduction and limitation commitments.

Climate system

The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere, and the interactions between them. The climate system evolves in time under the influence of its own internal dynamics and because of external forcings such as volcanic eruptions, solar variations and anthropogenic forcings such as the changing composition of the atmosphere and land use change (LUC).

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) A mechanism defined under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol through which investors (governments or companies) from developed (Annex B) countries may finance greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction or removal projects in developing (Non-Annex B) countries, and receive Certified Emission Reduction Units (CERs) for doing so. The CERs can be credited towards the commitments of the respective developed countries. The CDM is intended to facilitate the two objectives of promoting sustainable development (SD) in developing countries and of helping industrialized countries to reach their emissions commitments in a cost-effective way.

CO2-equivalent concentration

CO2-equivalent concentration The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) that would cause the same radiative forcing as a given mixture of CO2 and other forcing components. Those values may consider only greenhouse gases (GHGs), or a combination of GHGs, aerosols, and surface albedo changes. CO2-equivalent concentration is a metric for comparing radiative forcing of a mix of different forcing components at a particular time but does not imply equivalence of the corresponding climate change responses nor future forcing. There is generally no connection between CO2-equivalent emissions and resulting CO2- equivalent concentrations.

Certified Emission Reduction Unit (CER)

Equal to one metric tonne of CO2-equivalent emissions reduced or of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol) project, calculated using Global Warming Potentials (GWP).

Clean Development Mechanism

One of three market-based mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) whereby developed countries may finance greenhouse gas emissions-avoiding projects in developing countries, and receive credits for doing so which they may apply towards meeting mandatory limits on their own emissions


Climate Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the average weather, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period for averaging these variables is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization. The relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.

Carbon sequestration

The process of removing additional carbon from the atmosphere and depositing it in other ‘reservoirs’, principally through changes in land use. In practical terms, the carbon sequestration occurs mostly through the expansion of forests


Deforestation Conversion of forest to non-forest is one of the major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol, “the net changes in greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from direct human-induced land-use change and forestry activities, limited to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation since 1990, measured as verifiable changes in carbon stocks in each commitment period, shall be sued to meet the commitments under this Article of each Party included in Annex I”. Reducing emissions from deforestation is not eligible for Joint Implementation (JI) or Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects but has been introduced in the program of work under REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


A functional unit consisting of living organisms, their nonliving environment, and the interactions within and between them. The components included in a given ecosystem and its spatial boundaries depend on the purpose for which the ecosystem is defined: in some cases they are relatively sharp, while in others they are diffuse. Ecosystem boundaries can change over time. Ecosystems are nested within other ecosystems, and their scale can range from very small to the entire biosphere. In the current era, most ecosystems either contain people as key organisms, or are influenced by the effects of human activities in their environment.
Ecosystem services: Ecological processes or functions having monetary or non-monetary value to individuals or society at large. These are frequently classified as (1) supporting services such as productivity or biodiversity maintenance, (2) provisioning services such as food, fiber, or fish, (3) regulating services such as climate regulation or carbon sequestration, and (4) cultural services such as tourism or spiritual and aesthetic appreciation.

Emissions trading

Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol through which Parties with emission commitments may trade units of their emissions allowances with other Parties.

Emissions trading

A market-based instrument used to limit emissions.
The environmental objective or sum of total allowed emissions is expressed as an emissions cap. The cap is divided in tradable emission permits that are allocated—either by auctioning or handing out for free (grandfathering)—to entities within the jurisdiction of the trading scheme. Entities need to surrender emission permits equal to the amount of their emissions (e.g., tonnes of carbon dioxide). An entity may sell excess permits.
Trading schemes may occur at the intra-company, domestic, or international level and may apply to carbon dioxide (CO2), other greenhouse gases (GHGs), or other substances. Emissions 1261 Annex I Glossary, Acronyms and Chemical Symbols AI trading is also one of the mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol.

Emissions Reduction Unit (ERU):

Equal to one metric tonne of CO2- equivalent emissions reduced or of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere through a Joint Implementation (JI) (defined in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol) project, calculated using Global Warming Potentials (GWPs).

Ecosystem services

Ecological processes or functions having monetary or non-monetary value to individuals or society at large. These are frequently classified as (1) supporting services such as productivity or biodiversity maintenance, (2) provisioning services such as food, fiber, or fish, (3) regulating services such as climate regulation or carbon sequestration, and (4) cultural services such as tourism or spiritual and aesthetic appreciation.


Open air burning of waste gases and volatile liquids, through a chimney, at oil wells or rigs, in refineries or chemical plants, and at landfills

Fossil fuels

Carbon-based fuels from fossil hydrocarbon deposits, including coal, peat, oil, and natural gas.

Geothermal energy

Accessible thermal energy stored in the earth’s interior

Global warming

Global warming refers to the gradual increase, observed or projected, in global surface temperature, as one of the consequences of radiative forcing caused by anthropogenic emissions.

Greenhouse gas (GHG)

Greenhouse gases are those gaseous constituents of the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic, that absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of terrestrial radiation emitted by the earth’s surface, the atmosphere itself, and by clouds. This property causes the greenhouse effect. Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and ozone (O3) are the primary GHGs in the earth’s atmosphere. Moreover, there are a number of entirely human-made GHGs in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and other chlorine- and brominecontaining substances, dealt with under the Montreal Protocol. Beside CO2, N2O and CH4, the Kyoto Protocol deals with the GHGs sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Greenhouse effect

The infrared radiative effect of all infraredabsorbing constituents in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases (GHGs), clouds, and (to a small extent) aerosols absorb terrestrial radiation emitted by the earth’s surface and elsewhere in the atmosphere. These substances emit infrared radiation in all directions, but, everything else being equal, the net amount emitted to space is normally less than would have been emitted in the absence of these absorbers because of the decline of temperature with altitude in the troposphere and the consequent weakening of emission. An increase in the concentration of GHGs increases the magnitude of this effect; the difference is sometimes called the enhanced greenhouse effect. The change in a GHG concentration because of anthropogenic emissions contributes to an instantaneous radiative forcing. Surface temperature and troposphere warm in response to this forcing, gradually restoring the radiative balance at the top of the atmosphere.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

An index, based on radiative properties of greenhouse gases (GHGs), measuring the radiative forcing following a pulse emission of a unit mass of a given GHG in the present-day atmosphere integrated over a chosen time horizon, relative to that of carbon dioxide (CO2). The GWP represents the combined effect of the differing times these gases remain in the atmosphere and their relative effectiveness in causing radiative forcing. The Kyoto Protocol is based on GWPs from pulse emissions over a 100-year time frame. Unless stated otherwise, this report uses GWP values calculated with a 100-year time horizon which are often derived from the IPCC Second Assessment Report (see Annex II.9.1 for the GWP values of the different GHGs

Greenhouse gas

Atmospheric gas that traps the heat and is responsible for warming the earth and climate change. The major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxides (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) Less prevalent – but very powerful – greenhouse gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Those gases are regulated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. Some greenhouse gases are also regulated under the Montreal Protocol for their effect on the ozone layer.


Hydrofluorocarbons. Regulated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol as well as under the Montreal Protocol.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Established jointly by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNEP in 1998 to assess the scientific technical and socio-economic impacts of climate change.

Joint Implementation (JI)

A mechanism defined in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol, through which investors (governments or companies) from developed (Annex B) countries may implement projects jointly that limit or reduce emissions or enhance sinks, and to share the Emissions Reduction Units (ERU)

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, at the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC. It contains legally binding commitments, in addition to those included in the UNFCCC. Countries included in Annex B of the Protocol (most Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries and countries with economies in transition) agreed to reduce their anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)) by at least 5% below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008–2012. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005.

Kyoto Mechanisms (also referred to as Flexibility Mechanisms)

Market-based mechanisms that Parties to the Kyoto Protocol can use in an attempt to lessen the potential economic impacts of their commitment to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They include Joint Implementation (JI) (Article 6), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) (Article 12), and Emissions trading (Article 17)

Marrakech Accords

Series of decisions adopted at the seventh Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) related to the Kyoto Protocol.

Mitigation (of climate change)

A human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This report also assesses human interventions to reduce the sources of other substances which may contribute directly or indirectly to limiting climate change, including, for example, the reduction of particulate matter (PM) emissions that can directly alter the radiation balance (e.g., black carbon) or measures that control emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other 1267 Annex I Glossary, Acronyms and Chemical Symbols AI pollutants that can alter the concentration of tropospheric ozone (O3) which has an indirect effect on the climate.

Non-Annex I Parties/countries

Non-Annex I Parties are mostly developing countries. Certain groups of developing countries are recognized by the Convention as being especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, including countries with low-lying coastal areas and those prone to desertification and drought. Others, such as countries that rely heavily on income from fossil fuel production and commerce, feel more vulnerable to the potential economic impacts of climate change response measures. The Convention emphasizes activities that promise to answer the special needs and concerns of these vulnerable countries, such as investment, insurance, and technology transfer.

Precautionary principle

A provision under Article 3 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stipulating that the Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent, or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason to postpone such measures, taking into account that policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost-effective in order to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost.

Renewable energy (RE)

Any form of energy from solar, geophysical, or biological sources that is replenished by natural processes at a rate that equals or exceeds its rate of use. For a more detailed description see Bioenergy, Solar energy, Hydropower, Ocean, Geothermal, and Wind energy.


The capacity of social, economic, and environmental systems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain their essential function, identity, and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning, and transformation (Arctic Council, 2013).


Planting of forests on lands that have previously sustained forests but that have been converted to some other use. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, reforestation is the direct humaninduced conversion of non-forested land to forested land through planting, seeding, and/or human-induced promotion of natural seed sources, on land that was previously forested but converted to nonforested land. For the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, reforestation activities will be limited to reforestation occurring on those lands that did not contain forest on 31 December 1989.

Strategic environmental assessment

Procedure for incorporating environmental consideration into national policies, plans and programmes. Sometimes referred to as “strategic environmental impact assessment”.

Sustainable development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs


The uptake (i.e., the addition of a substance of concern to a reservoir) of carbon containing substances, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), in terrestrial or marine reservoirs. Biological sequestration includes direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere through land-use change (LUC), afforestation, reforestation, revegetation, carbon storage in landfills, and practices that enhance soil carbon in agriculture (cropland management, grazing land management). In parts of the literature, but not in this report, (carbon) sequestration is used to refer to Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS).

Sound management

Taking all practicable steps to ensure that management takes place in a manner which protects human health and the environment against the adverse effects of activities, processes, products or substances.


Any process, activity or mechanism that removes a greenhouse gas (GHG), an aerosol, or a precursor of a GHG or aerosol from the atmosphere


Small Island Developing States. Low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. Agenda 21 recognized that SIDS and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. Currently 41 SIDS are included in the list used by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs


A dynamic process that guarantees the persistence of natural and human systems in an equitable manner. Sustainable development (SD): Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987)

Type II Partnership

A multi-stakeholder partnership involving, inter alia, governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, universities, and/or other institutions. Type of partnership launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to implement commitments embedded in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Technology Transfer

Transmission of know-how, equipment and products to governments, organizations or other stakeholders. Usually also implies adaptation for use in a specific cultural, social, economic and environmental context


A cognitive state of incomplete knowledge that can result from a lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable. It may have many types of sources, from imprecision in the data to ambiguously defined concepts or terminology, or uncertain projections of human behaviour. Uncertainty can therefore be represented by quantitative measures (e.g., a probability density function) or by qualitative statements (e.g., reflecting the judgment of a team of experts)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The Convention was adopted on 9 May 1992 in New York and signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro by more than 150 countries and the European Community. Its ultimate objective is the ‘stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’. It contains commitments for all Parties under the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’. Under the Convention, Parties included in Annex I aimed to return greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions not controlled by the Montreal Protocol to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The convention entered in force in March 1994. In 1997, the UNFCCC adopted the Kyoto Protocol


The degree to which a community, population, species, ecosystem, region, agricultural system or some other quantity is susceptible, or unable to cope with, adverse effects.

Voluntary Contribution

A contribution of any kind that unlike assessed contributions is not assessed under a binding international agreement, including the furnishing of funds for other financial support, services of any kind (including the use of experts or other personnel), or commodities, equipment, supplies or other material