Energy and Climate Initiative

The United Arab Emirates is set to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, in November 2023. More than 80,000 participants are expected to attend the summit due to be held in Dubai at what is a critical juncture in the effort to combat global warming. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change set the tone for the forthcoming summit with its recent dire warning that the world is running out of time to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising further to levels that would pose a threat to human life and the biosphere. Gulf Arab states are having to reconcile their need for hydrocarbon revenue with their particular vulnerability to the effects of climate change, including increasing temperatures, water scarcity and desertification, and biodiversity loss. At this pivotal moment for the region and the broader international community, AGSIW’s Energy and Climate Initiative explores Gulf energy and climate policies, technological advances, and pressing political, social, and environmental issues ahead of COP28.

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IEA: Global Investment in Clean Energy Set to Reach Record $2 Trillion in 2024

Despite some large solar projects underway in the Gulf Arab states, mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East does not account for a significant share of total investments in clean energy.

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Chinese Firms Snag Iraqi Oil and Gas Blocks

Chinese investors are less risk averse than their Western counterparts, hence their strong showing in the latest upstream opportunities offered by Baghdad.

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Privatizing the Gulf Utility Sector

Gulf governments are looking to privatize their energy-intensive utility sectors, aiming to make public utilities more environmentally and financially sustainable.

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Kuwait’s New Energy Strategy Takes Off but Oil’s Still Dominant

While other Gulf Arab oil producing states have advanced diversification policies to ease reliance on oil revenue and increase renewable energy investments, Kuwait has lagged behind.

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Saudi Arabia’s 60-Year Battle for Food Security

The climate crisis has shifted the Saudi approach to agriculture from rent distribution and coalition building to strategic investment to ensure Saudis have enough to eat.

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Iraq Moves to Tackle Climate Challenge

Iraq is stepping up efforts to reduce flared gas as the first solar power plant moves forward with France’s TotalEnergies.

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The UAE and Saudi Arabia Lead the Way on Central Asian Energy Pivot

As Central Asian states seek to diversify their economic partnerships, the UAE and Saudi Arabia double down on green investments in the region to bolster their energy transitions.

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Water Challenges in the Emerging Hydrogen Economy

Global shifts have revitalized the move toward hydrogen as an energy source. However, discussions often center on cost and technical barriers, neglecting critical questions regarding water as a feedstock in hydrogen production.

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In the Gulf, Is Civil Society Fighting for Climate?

Tracking the efforts and successes of civil society elements in underscoring the urgency of addressing climate change will remain a key bellwether for progress on issues relating to global warming, energy transition, and sustainability.

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A Warm December as COP28 Gets Underway in Dubai

While not short on ambition in its energy diversification policy, the UAE faces a particular set of challenges along the pathway to carbon neutrality.

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Conflict and Weak Governance Fuel Yemen’s Environmental Crisis

The absence of a functioning state exacerbates Yemen’s environmental disasters, compounding the humanitarian crisis caused by years of conflict.

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Can Iran Sustain Its Oil and Gas Export Surge?

Iran’s oil resurgence is a critical market and political development, but the Iranian energy industry remains in a shaky state.

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Urgent Reforms Needed to Unlock Iraq’s Green Potential

Without an integrated energy transition strategy and political will to implement difficult reforms, Iraq will be unable to reach its climate ambitions.

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Five Climate Challenges the Gulf States Might Not Have Time to Solve

Whether it is water and food scarcity, migration pressures, or infrastructure damage due to extreme weather events, the pace at which Gulf governments are willing to implement pro-climate policies might not be fast enough to mitigate the most pressing challenges.

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Oman Steps Up Low-Carbon Ambitions

For Oman, the transition to cleaner energy sources is both an imperative and a practical economic path to a more sustainable future.

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The UAE: Tackling Climate Change From Space

Emirati leaders hope the UAE Space Agency can speed up the journey to carbon neutrality and position the country as a hub of climate technology and research.

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Event Report – Petro Diplomacy: The Energy Transition and the Road to COP28

AGSIW's ninth annual Petro Diplomacy conference examined how the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are managing the energy transition and expectations for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai beginning in November.

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Strong China-Gulf Energy Ties Spill Into Key Regional Issues

Energy cooperation is a central factor in not only China-Gulf economic relations but also the triangular – and often fraught – relationship among the United States, Gulf states, and China.

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The Rising Energy Demand of AI and Clouds: Unraveling the Environmental Conundrum

A better understanding of the potential impact of AI and clouds on energy consumption will enable informed decisions today regarding investments in energy sources, ensuring adequate supplies to meet the energy needs of the future.

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GCC Grid Infrastructure and Connectivity – An Electrifying Vision

The Middle East could become the center of an electric spider’s web, but such dreams face massive challenges.

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Gulf Countries Explore Water Solutions to Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change

The wide-ranging effects of water scarcity in the Gulf are likely to get worse without accelerated mitigation and adaptation measures.

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From Sharm el Sheikh to Dubai: What to Expect From the UAE as Host of COP28

COP28 is expected to create momentum for the Gulf states to advance their climate action ambitions and climate policy implementation.

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Japan and the UAE Partner to Tackle the Energy Transition

Cooperation on UAE-produced clean energy serves Japan’s interest in diversifying its renewable energy mix while also boosting the UAE’s global position as a reliable green energy supplier.

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UAE Eyes Economic Gains From Industry Decarbonization

The UAE is seeking to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the energy transition rather than merely avoiding pitfalls along the way.

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Collaboration Key to Unlocking Vast East Mediterranean Gas Potential

Unlocking the full potential of eastern Mediterranean gas will require the convergence of commercial objectives, political will, and strategic partnerships.

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The Energy Transition and the Road to COP28

The UAE will need to find common ground to make COP28 a success because time and the Middle East’s remaining carbon budget are running out.

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Solar and Wind Energy Driving the Middle East’s Energy Transition

If Middle Eastern countries are to reduce carbon emissions and reach their net-zero targets, solar and wind energy must be scaled up to provide zero-carbon energy and displace natural gas.

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The Promise of Tracking Renewable Energy Development

International renewable energy certificates, which are increasingly popular in the Gulf, can help fuel the growth of the renewable energy industry as the world transitions away from fossil fuels.

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Is Riyadh’s Mukaab Compatible With Saudi Arabia’s Climate Ambitions?

It is difficult to reconcile Saudi Arabia’s vision for sustainability with The Mukaab in its current form – but it’s not too late for a course correction.

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Fossil Fuels and the Gulf Energy Transition

While the global energy transition will present challenges for the Gulf Arab states, there are climate-compatible ways to use a significant portion of Gulf hydrocarbon reserves.

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U.N. Climate Report Sounds Alarm Ahead of COP28 in the UAE

As an oil producer seeking to lead the fight against climate change, the United Arab Emirates will have the difficult task of combining its dual roles and finding common ground to make COP28 a success.

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Sultan Al Jaber’s COP28 Appointment Captures Key Climate Trends and Fault Lines

Beyond the criticism of environmental activists and praise of supporters, the appointment points to Gulf efforts to address the regional dilemma posed by climate change, highlights UAE exercise of soft power, and underscores U.S.-UAE cooperation.

Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s Quest for African Critical Minerals

Saudi and Emirati efforts to expand the countries’ presence in Africa’s critical mineral industry bring the potential for both economic collaboration and geopolitical tension with China.

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Through its careful examination of the forces shaping the evolution of Gulf societies and the new generation of emerging leaders, AGSIW facilitates a richer understanding of the role the countries in this key geostrategic region can be expected to play in the 21st century.

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