At the forthcoming UN climate-change conference in Dubai, governments will assess how much progress they have made since the Paris agreement of 2015. This week, as well as assessing that progress ourselves in a leader, we also look at one climate solution which is not discussed as much as it should be: carbon-dioxide removal. All net-zero plans rely, at some point, on being able to take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere when further reductions in emissions are too hard. But despite lots of interesting startups and increasing investment, the technology to do so is still at a very early stage. Our special report looks both at how it might develop and what the ability to trade off emissions cuts against removals might mean for the economy.
Our cover in the Middle East and Africa this week is also related to Dubai: it looks at the United Arab Emirates’ ambitious ascent. When I travelled there last month with colleagues, I was struck by how upbeat investors, business folk and officials were, even as war had broken out in Gaza. The country is in the middle of an astonishing boom as Chinese traders, Indian tycoons, Russian billionaires and Western financiers flock to it in search of stability and success. The UAE has become the Singapore of the Middle East, but that is only part of the story. It is also seizing a bigger geopolitical role. Over the next few weeks, as the host of the UN’s climate summit, for instance, it hopes to be a broker between rich and poor countries. But it is also making terrible mistakes. Our leader asks what other countries eager to play on the global stage can learn from its example.