The UAE has a diverse environment comprising a wide range of plant and animal life; both on land and in the sea. Camels , horses , oryxes , gazelles and tahr are some of the common animals of the UAE. Whales, dolphins and turtles are amongst the common aquatic animals. Dugongs are under conservation. Kingfish, hamoor and tuna are amongst the common fishes. Falcon is the national bird. Pigeons, myna, gulls , flamingoes, hoopoes and Indian rollers are amongst the common birds found in the UAE. Houbara bustard is under conservation. Acacia and ghaf trees are common in the UAE and so are the date palms.
The UAE does have marshy land and salt pans, but most of the territory is covered by sand. Sand is found in all emirates and in several colours. Read more about the colours of sand . Sandstorms are a common occurrence usually in February-March and June-August when strong winds blow.
As per Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi , in 2012, only 18 per cent of all groundwater in the emirate was directly usable. 79 per cent was saline and could be used only after treatment. 3 per cent was fresh and largely protected.
The UAE is one of the first Arab countries to study and carry out cloud seeding to induce artificial rain.
The UAE is also looking at generating renewable energy through alternate sustainable sources. Masdar , a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government-owned Mubadala Development Company invests in producing renewable energy and building sustainable technology. Their domestic portfolio accounts for about 68% of the GCC's renewable capacity. Masdar's residential unit Masdar City which is modelled on techniques and technologies that reduce the need and use of energy, is the permanent headquarters of International Renewable Energy Agency .
UAE nuclear programme
The UAE is developing a peaceful nuclear programme as a sustainable solution to meet its energy requirements. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation is working to deliver safe, clean, efficient, environment-friendly nuclear energy that is needed to support the UAE's social and economic growth. By the year 2020, nuclear reactors will become the UAE's second most important source of energy after natural gas, producing about 25 per cent of the UAE's electricity and ensuring the continued economic development of the nation.