Middle East must slash CO2 emissions by 42% to meet 2030 target

08 August 2022 Consultancy-me.com 4 min. read
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If the Middle East wants to meet the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, the region will need to reduce its emissions by 42%. But with the most polluting sectors notoriously difficult to decarbonise, the region is up for “a major political and societal” challenge, according to a new report by the World Government Summit in conjunction with Oliver Wyman.

Governments in the Middle East are increasingly aware of the need to play their part in reducing CO2 emissions. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have for instance pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2060, while the United Arab Emirates is set to do so by 2050.

Saudi Arabia took a significant step towards this with the ‘Saudi Green’ initiative, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions 278 MTA by the year 2030. Qatar has meanwhile committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 25% by the decade’s end.

Reduction of Emission Needed in Middle East by Sector and Industry

Despite all the efforts and pathways to 2030, which already are considered progressively ambitious for the region, they are not even close to making sure the Middle East reaches its emissions reduction pledge for 2030.

According to modelling by Oliver Wyman, the Middle East is expected to generate more than 3,120 MTCO2 equivalent in 2030. The target is 1,795 MTCO2 equivalent, meaning there is an ‘emissions gap’ of 1,325 MTCO2 equivalent. Globally, Oliver Wyman’s analysis shows, the picture is not much rosier, with the world facing an emissions gap of 32,342 MTCO2 equivalent worldwide.

That’s the bad news. The good news for the Middle East: four sectors account for over 85% of the emissions gap: energy accounts for 39% of total emissions, industrial 21%, residential and public usage 14%, and transportation 11%. That means that high-impact actions targeted at just these four sectors could yield a major step forward.

Necessary Emission Reduction in the Middle East can be Achieved by a Joint Effort Spanning Major Sectors of the Economy

In its report, Oliver Wyman and the World Government Summit urge governments to embrace five key policy actions, which if executed successfully, will help a long way in realising the Co2 target:

  • Invest in the development of Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) and Carbon Capture Utilisation (CCU) technologies, especially in the energy and industrial sectors
  • Focus on emissions reduction opportunities in the heating and cooling of buildings
  • Increase low-emissions power generation
  • Target emissions in the logistics and transportation sectors;
  • Increase the energy efficiency of industrial processes.

Facing multiple pressures including the need for accelerated economic diversification, global competitiveness and an infrastructure built high oil-dependence, “achieving the various climate targets will be challenging for economies,” said Matthieu De Clercq, a partner at Oliver Wyman and one of the report’s lead authors.

Prioritizing Impactful Climate Action Policies in Middle Eastern Countries

“Middle Eastern countries need to plan their transition carefully as they move to a net zero future to ensure that the move does not damage regional economic growth, especially as some economies are still largely reliant on oil and hydrocarbons. For this switch to be smooth, several policy tools need to be applied across each action towards achieving a robust, gradual and sustainable transition while taking into account the economic, social and fiscal structure.”

Beyond planning, buy-in from across the public and private space will be key. “All governments and public policymakers will need to engage effectively with a broad set of stakeholders and secure their buy-in. It is essential to build an inclusive narrative that involves all actors present in the economy, starting with investors, business leaders, public sector actors, and end-users,” said De Clercq.

Countries included in the scoping for the Middle East region were: United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.

The report was officially launched at the 2022 edition of the World Government Summit, which took place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Oliver Wyman is one of the exclusive research and consulting partners of the World Government Summit.