In the context of international climate change obligations, Gulf Arab states have introduced policies to integrate climate policies into economic development and planning, seeking to maximize clean development opportunities yet at the same time to minimize the threats to their rentier economies caused by sudden shifts away from fossil fuels. This paper assesses the challenges and opportunities for climate policy integration in the Gulf states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, examining the interaction between their climate policy and their political–economic regimes. It adopts a novel analytical framework that integrates insights from climate policy integration and the political–economic theory of rentier states. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders and relevant policy documents, it reveals modest progress in integrating climate policy into economic development plans in the UAE but major impediments to climate policy integration in Oman. Both countries face significant shortfalls in climate-related financial and human resource capacities. Climate policy integration efforts have focused on the energy sector with the purpose of protecting rents from oil exports rather than advancing a low-carbon transformation of their economies. This has created structural ambiguity in the climate policy integration advanced in the UAE and Oman.
Former Research Associate Aisha’s research interests focus on the environment, energy policy and climate economics and policies. She obtained her Ph.D. at Imperial… Aisha’s research interests focus on the environment, energy policy and climate economics and policies. She obtained her Ph.D. at Imperial College's Centre for Environmental Policy. Her thesis focused on policies and challenges for renewable energy adoption in oil-producing countries. Following her Ph.D., Aisha pursued her postdoctoral research at the London School of Economics and Political Science's Middle East Centre, working on assessing the economic implications of climate change in the GCC. She also joined the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, studying the challenges and opportunities for aligning climate policies with economic diversification strategies in Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE. Before joining KAPSARC, Aisha worked at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies as a visiting scholar.