The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said it wishes to transition toward a less carbon intensive energy system, both as part of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and as one of a number of investments in green research and development, technology and power generation. However, given the complexity of the UAE’s political system, which requires consensus among seven relatively sovereign and independent emirates, as well as commercial and financial interests, it is not clear which policy instruments are politically plausible.
This article summarizes the results of a longer analysis of the UAE policy process that utilized the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) Toolkit for Behavioral Analysis (KTAB) platform, a model of collective decision-making processes (CDMPs), to evaluate the political feasibility of six different policy options that could help achieve the efforts of the United Arab Emirates to change its energy system to a less carbon-intensive one (hereafter referred to as the UAE Energy Transition).
KTAB is a platform that enables the modeling and analysis of CDMPs. CDMPs capture the political bargaining process, both explicit and implicit, among a set of actors—individuals, institutions, constituencies or identifiable groups or “blocs.” KTAB simulates how actors interact with and influence one another over time to arrive at a “feasible outcome” for the modeled question. This reflects a model-based view of the expected outcome for actors’ collective support for—or opposition to—each of the policy alternatives included in this article. We will only discuss the aggregate findings from the larger study, rather than provide a detailed summary of the preferences, evolving political will, and expected behavior of each actor in all of the relevant policy dimensions.