Dubai said a new world-recognised pilot programme is on the ground in the emirate working to accurately measure carbon emissions to help officials build a healthier and sustainable green economy.
Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE) — a government body working to reduce emissions — is partnering with Enviro-Mark, a New Zealand government-owned firm, to measure carbon emissions across public and private sectors to get an accurate snapshot of greenhouses gases in the air.
Once collected, new data will form a baseline from which carbon centre staff can plan new strategies to cut carbon dioxide under the Clean Energy Strategy 2050, a plan to make Dubai the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050 and a global centre for clean energy and energy conservation.
The new pilot will also help Dubai meets its commitment to last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21) when 195 countries agreed to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the century ahead to stave off global warming.
Ivano Ianelli, CEO of DCCE, told Gulf News that the aim of the new pilot is to have emission numbers independently verified and then certified through Enviro-Mark’s world-class Carbon and Energy Management Reduction Scheme (CEMARS).
The carbon programme, founded in New Zealand, is said to be the first globally recognised certification scheme accredited to ISO 14065.
“The New Zealand pilot project is ensuring everything is done correctly. With this in place, we are able to compete in any international programme. This is new, this is innovation in the region,” Ianelli said in an interview.
“At the moment, CEMARS has started operating in the UAE and we are waiting to see how feasible it is,” Ivanelli said.
Hard numbers could be ready in time for Dubai’s hosting of the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) on October 5-6 which will host delegates from 60 countries, he said.
The work is part of the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021, approved in December by the Dubai Executive Council, to stem greenhouse gases by 16 per cent by 2021.
Dr Ann Smith, chief executive of Enviro-Mark, told Gulf News in an interview from Auckland, New Zealand, that CEMARS “aims to inspire action for a better environment and a sustainable low-carbon economy. Our goal is to make measurable reductions in environmental impact, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, through the certification services we provide to our customers”.
Smith said her firm is now working with “Dubai Carbon to align the CEMARS programme with the carbon abatement policies under development in Dubai and develop a joint strategy plan to engage key business sectors in working towards a low carbon economy that will make a significant contribution to Dubai’s emissions reduction targets. We have successfully demonstrated in New Zealand and the UK that voluntary action by business and industry can contribute to national climate change targets”.
One of the key elements leading to the success of CEMARS is its monitoring and measuring toolbox, she said.
“We don’t have monitoring stations and we don’t stick probes down chimneys. We verify company carbon footprints by checking their emissions inventory against the evidence for electricity and gas consumption and fuel use by vehicles. That evidence can be meter readings, reports provided by suppliers, invoices,” Smith said.
When numbers are analysed and filed in a report to DCCE, a new “report will assess the market segments and sectors in Dubai and its potential to deliver carbon reductions. For example, there is great potential for energy savings and hence carbon reductions through the hotel accommodation sector in Dubai. We will examine the potential of the key sectors in Dubai so that we can focus our efforts where we can make a difference”.
Smith said, “Dubai will benefit from the international reputation of the CEMARS programme and its alignment with the requirements of the Paris Agreement to ensure that carbon reduction claims are backed up by monitoring, reporting and verification.”
How CEMARS works
Those who wish to be CEMARS-certified, measure their organisation’s carbon footprint according to ISO 14064-1 and they must put in place a carbon management plan with targets to reduce their carbon emissions.
“Within five years after their base year, companies must demonstrate absolute or emissions intensity reduction in their carbon emissions. CEMARS provides a framework based on international best practice that ensures that certified companies can make carbon claims with credibility and integrity,” said Enviro-Mark CEO Dr Ann Smith.
“Once a company is certified, it is entitled to use the CEMARS logo to promote their commitment to continual improvement in reducing emissions. Stakeholders increasingly want to see that carbon reporting is verified by independent third parties to international standards. CEMARS has been rated as best in the world for robustness, impartiality and transparency.”