Renewable Energy in GCC: Need for a Holistic Approach

The importance of renewable energy sources in the energy portfolio of any country is well known, especially in the context of energy security and impacts on climate change. The growing quest for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been seen by many as both – a compulsion to complement the rising energy demand, and as an economic strength that helps them in carrying forward the clean energy initiatives from technology development to large scale deployment of projects from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh.

Current Scenario

The promotion of renewable energy (RE) is becoming an integral part in the policy statements of governments in GCC countries. Particular attention is being paid to the development and deployment of solar energy for various applications. Masdar is a shining example of a government’s commitment towards addressing sustainability issues through education, R&D, investment, and commercialization of RE technologies. It not only has emerged as the hub of renewable energy development and innovation but is also acting as a catalyst for many others to take up this challenge.

With the ongoing developments in the clean energy sphere in the region, the growing appetite for establishing clean energy market and addressing domestic sustainability issues arising out of the spiralling energy demand and subsidized hydrocarbon fuels is clearly visible. Saudi Arabia is also contemplating huge investments to develop its solar industry, which can meet one-third of its electricity demand by the year 2032. Other countries are also trying to reciprocate similar moves. While rationalizing subsidies quickly may be a daunting task for the governments (as for any other country, for that matter, including India as well), efforts are being made by UAE to push RE in the supply mix and create the market.

Accelerating Renewable Energy Growth

However, renewable energy initiatives are almost exclusively government-led projects. There is nothing wrong in capitalizing hydrocarbon revenue for a noble cause but unless strong policies and regulatory frameworks are put in place, the sector may not see viable actions from private players and investors. The present set of such instruments are either still weak or absent, and, therefore, are unable to provide greater comfort to market players. This situation may, in turn, limit the capacity/flexibility to reduce carbon footprints in times to come as government on its own cannot set up projects everywhere, it can only demonstrate and facilitate.

In this backdrop, it is time to soon bring in reforms that would pave way for successful RE deployment in all spheres. Some of the initiatives that need to be introduced or strengthened include:

  • Enabling policies for grid connected RE that should cover interconnection issues between RE power and utilities, incentives, facilitation and clearances for land, water, and environment (wherever relevant); and
  • Regulatory provisions relating to – setting of minimum Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) to be met, principles of tariff determination for different technologies, provisions for trading in RE, plant operation including scheduling (wherever relevant), and evacuation of power.
  • Creation of ancillary market for effectively meeting the grid management challenges arising from intermittent power like that from solar and wind, metering and energy accounting, protection, connectivity code, safety, etc.

For creating demand and establishing a thriving market, concerted efforts are required by all the stakeholders to address various kinds of issues pertaining to policy, technical, regulatory, and institutional mechanisms in the larger perspective. In the absence of a strong framework, even the world’s most visionary and ambitious project Desertec which  envision channeling of solar and wind power to parts of Europe by linking of renewable energy generation sites in MENA region may also face hurdles as one has to deal with pricing, interconnection, grid stability and access issues first. This also necessitates the need for harmonization in approach among all participating countries to the extent possible.

Conclusions

It is difficult to ignore the benefits of renewable energy be it social, economic, environmental, local or global. Policy statements are essential starting steps for accelerating adoption of clean energy sources including smaller size capacity, where there lies a significant potential. In GCC countries with affluent society, the biggest challenge would be to create energy consciousness and encourage smarter use of energy among common people like anywhere else, and the same calls for wider application of behavioural science in addressing a wide range of sustainability issues.

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Hydroponic Farming in Bahrain

Locally grown vegetables and salad greens are becoming increasingly common in the market places of Bahrain, thanks to alternative agricultural practices such as hydroponic farming. Bahrain is now taking definite steps towards being self-sustaining with certain food items that frequent our dinner table. By adopting the alternative –ponic practices, Bahrain is actively tackling the issue of food security.

Commercial hydroponic farming facilities are well established in Bahrain with a highly promising and very green future. Hydroponic farms are successfully operating in Bahrain even in the summer months when the daytime temperatures are 40-50oC and nighttime temperatures are 30-35oC outside of the greenhouses. One such successful operation occupies a land area of 180,000 sq m and is aiming to produce in excess of 5,000 tons of fresh foods annually.  The operational polythene greenhouse covers 40,000 sq m with production increasing from the initial 250kg per day to 1,500kg per day.

Hydroponic farming has a lot of plus factors especially when practiced in an arid environment, such as Bahrain. It is the solution for growing plants where soil nutrient quality, salinity and water scarcity are limiting issues. It is also a perfect solution in countries or regions where the amount of arable land is very limited, apart from being an ideal solution in regions where  there is ample light, even if it is also enhanced by artificial lighting. In Bahrain, the total amount of arable land is only 11% of the total land area (according to the 2014 AFED Annual Report, Food Security in Arab Countries). The soil on the island has high salinity content, with poor water retention ability and limited nutrients so the managed environment of hydroponic farming is an ideal alternative.

What is Hydroponic Farming

The hydroponic gardener or horticulturalist, regulates the composition of nutrients in the liquid solution used to water the plants. He also regulates the frequency of supplying the nutrients to the plants. Simply, the hydroponic gardener controls the growing environment of the plants. The system is highly automated of course but still requires to be well managed. Therefore, hydroponics is a viable, large-scale farming technique.

As stated above, the process is managed, not simply controlled. Therefore, it is water efficient and nutrient efficient, both of which are delivered directly to the plant’s root structure. Because the levels of water and nutrients are monitored, these elements are supplied as and when needed at the required levels. Together, water and nutrients contribute to the success of and rate of growth. The lighting factor is also critical in crop production. This is achieved by planting out in vertical structures where lighting is maximized while plant density, crowding and shading are minimized. Present day hydroponic farming embrace the 3-D approach and are grown vertically in multilevel growing beds.

So now we have ideal growing conditions in terms of nutrients, water and light, plus the ability to grow in the vertical. This adds significantly to the yield per unit area as the growing area is no longer 2-dimensional (2-D) but has become a 3-D concept and design.  This maximizes the actual growing area and uses what could have been unutilized areas in enclosed gardening environments.

With a multi-level bedding structure that is movable, plants can now be exposed to ideal lighting at all times throughout the growing period. This controlled and managed growing environment also has significant advantages over traditional farming techniques.

Advantages of Hydroponic Farming

A well designed hydroponic system is characterized by less wastage of water and nutrients than soil-based farms. Both water and nutrients are feed directly to the root structure of the plants and recycled through the hydroponic system. This also eliminates the typical land and water pollution possibilities due to overland flow and runoff, respectively. This all means the system uses less water and less nutrient supplies. Both of these aspects provide great economic benefits by lowering the ongoing costs of cultivation. This is of key importance in regions ranked as having extreme scarcity of water, such as Middle East nations.

In the absence of the soil medium, the likelihood of disease is largely reduced. This is another plus factor. Traditional farming methods are soil based. The work intensity if soil based farming is very different to hydroponic method. Traditional farming involves the tilling and cultivation of the soil. Both  of these activities are time consuming and labour intensive prior to the actually growing season. Other plus factors of hydroponic farming are due to the management of the density of plants and the humidity of the growing environment. 

As these factors are all managed,  there is no need for fumigation of the plant crop nor for weeding. There are no microorganisms as there is no soil stratum. There are no leaf eating predators because of the managed enclosures. Therefore, hydroponics is becoming the agrarian farmer’s dream. In short, the nature of the farming work load is greatly reduced in comparison to the traditional farming practices.

The physical hydroponic growing environment is akin to the concept of greenhouse gardening but on a much larger scale with automatic rotation of the beds for maximum light exposure at all times, as well as the loading and unloading of vertical growing beds in highly controlled growing environments.  The traditional greenhouse, also known as a hothouse or glasshouse, concentrated solar heating while ventilation was manually operated by opening and closing window panels,  and lighting was natural and diurnal.

The planting medium was soil so the usual plant-soil issues were present and water was supplied often in over abundance. Humidity and condensation were ongoing issues that needed to be addressed but were not totally managed in a greenhouse as such. The conventional style of greenhouse is now supplanted by the vertical A-frame growing systems. Lighting is no longer solely dependent on natural light sources but uses LED and sulpha plasma lighting systems.

The challenges are still present and very real. The biggest challenge is related to the ambient temperatures surrounding the greenhouse. Controlling the internal temperatures of the greenhouses has required elaborate and advanced ventilation and cooling techniques. The technology of the whole enterprise is not just a local initiative but has required international cooperation and partnering with expertise from the UK, Japan, the Netherlands and many other parts of the globe.  In addition to new and improved technology and modern agricultural practices, the level of staffing is also modernized with highly trained and conscientious workers who understand the production system and the challenges of working in a laboratory style environment.  

Growing greens in the desert climate of Bahrain is not a fantasy but a reality. 

Growing foods in the desert of Bahrain is a reality with a sustainable future.

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MSW Generation in the Middle East

The high rate of population growth, urbanization and economic expansion in the Middle East is not only accelerating consumption rates but also increasing the generation rate of all  sorts of waste. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait rank in the top-ten worldwide in terms of per capita solid waste generation. The gross urban waste generation quantity from Middle East countries has crossed 150 million tons per annum.The world’s dependence on Middle East energy resources has caused the region to have some of the largest carbon footprints per capita worldwide. The region is now gearing up to meet the challenge of global warming, as with the rapid growth of the waste management sector. During the last few years, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have unveiled multi-billion dollar investment plans to Improve waste management scenario in their respective countries. 

Solid Waste Generation Statistics

Saudi Arabia produce more than 15 million tons of garbage each year. With an approximate population of about 28 million, the country produces approximately 1.3 kilograms of waste per person every day. More than 5,000 tons of urban waste is generated in the city of Jeddah alone. 

The per capita MSW generation rate  in the United Arab Emirates ranges from 1.76 to 2.3 kg/day. According to a recent study, the amount of solid waste in UAE totaled 4.892 million tons, with a daily average of 6935 tons in the city of Abu Dhabi, 4118 tons in Al Ain and 2349 tons in the western region.

Qatar's annual waste generation stands at 2.5 million tons while Kuwait produces 2 million tons MSW per annum. Bahrain generates more than 1.5 million tons of municipal waste every year. Countries like Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar have astonishingly high per capita waste generation rate, primarily because of high standard of living and lack of awarness about sustainable waste management practices.

Country

MSW Generation

(million tons per annum)

Saudi Arabia

13

UAE

5

Qatar

2.5

Kuwait

2

Bahrain

1.5

In addition, huge quantity of sewage sludge is produced on daily basis which presents a serious problem due to its high treatment costs and risk to environment, human health and marine life. On an average, the rate of municipal wastewater generation in the Middle East is 80-200 litres per person per day. Cities in the region are facing increasing difficulties in treating sewage, as has been the case in Jeddah where 500,000 cubic metre of raw sewage is discarded in Buraiman Lake daily. Sewage generation across the region is rising by an astonishing rate of 25 percent every year which is bound to create major headaches for urban planners. 

Waste-to-Energy for the Middle East

Municipal solid waste in the Middle East is comprised of organic fraction, paper, glass, plastics, metals, wood etc which can be managed by making use of recycling, composting and/or waste-to-energy technologies. The composting process is a complex interaction between the waste and the microorganisms within the waste. Central composting plants are capable of handling more than 100,000 tons of biodegradable waste per year, but typically the plant size is about 10,000 to 30,000 tons per year.

Municipal solid waste can be converted into energy by conventional technologies (such as incineration, mass-burn and landfill gas capture) or by modern conversion systems (such as anaerobic digestion, gasification and pyrolysis). The three principal methods of thermochemical conversion are combustion (in excess air), gasification (in reduced air), and pyrolysis (in absence of air). The most common technique for producing both heat and electrical energy from urban wastes is direct combustion. Combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration systems, ranging from small-scale technology to large grid-connected facilities, provide significantly higher efficiencies than systems that only generate electricity. 

At the landfill sites, the gas produced by the natural decomposition of MSW can be collected from the stored material and scrubbed and cleaned before feeding into internal combustion engines or gas turbines to generate heat and power. In addition, the organic fraction of MSW can be anaerobically stabilized in a high-rate digester to obtain biogas for electricity or steam generation. 

Anaerobic digestion is the most preferred option to extract energy from sewage, which leads to production of biogas and organic fertilizer. The sewage sludge that remains can be incinerated or gasified/pyrolyzed to produce more energy. In addition, sewage-to-energy processes also facilitate water recycling. Infact, energy recovery from MSW is rapidly gaining worldwide recognition as the 4th R in sustainable waste management system – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Recover.

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The Consequences of Ocean Acidification

The relentless rise in the percentage of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution is a well-known fact. Carbon dioxide is considered as one of the key players among the greenhouse gases that has contributed the most towards global warming, the current hot topic among environmentalists, scientists and even politicians. Another key issue is increasing being discussed nowadays is Ocean Acidification. Ocean acidification is an ongoing change in the chemistry of the ocean caused primarily by the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

What is Ocean Acidification

Around 1/4th of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere via various processes either natural or artificial, is absorbed by the ocean. Initially, the scientists assumed it to be an eco-friendly process since it reduced the carbon dioxide percentage in the atmosphere, but like any other natural processes or mechanisms once the threshold is crossed, the actual threat reveals itself.

When carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater, the water becomes more acidic and the ocean’s pH drops. Even though the ocean is immense, enough carbon dioxide can have a major impact. In the past 200 years alone, ocean water has become 30 percent more acidic—faster than any known change in ocean chemistry in the last 50 million years.

Consequences of Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification increases the amount of energy needed by many small marine organisms in constructing their carbonate shells and structures. In some places it will become impossible for these organisms to live as the seawater will turn corrosive to the shells and skeletons of numerous marine organisms, affecting their reproduction and physiology.

Squid are the fastest invertebrates in the oceans and require high levels of oxygen for their high-energy swimming. Increasingly acidic oceans interfere with the acidity of a squid’s blood and consequently the amount of oxygen that it can carry. Squid are important prey for many marine mammals, including beaked and sperm whales. Squid fisheries are also the most lucrative fishery around the world generating millions of dollars in revenues each year.

Tiny swimming sea snails called pteropods are considered the ‘potato chips of the sea’ as they serve as a critical part of the arctic marine food web, ultimately feeding whales and other top predators. Pteropod shells are expected to dissolve in acidity levels predicted by the end of this century and may not be able to survive. Population crashes or changes in the distribution of pteropods would have serious implications for some of the most abundant marine ecosystems.

Within the next few decades, the chemistry of the tropical oceans will not sustain coral reef growth while large parts of the polar oceans will become corrosive to calcareous marine organisms. Research shows that brittle stars, who act as important burrowers and as food items for flatfish, could face a severe population decline due to the rise in acidity. The adults might lose muscle mass while regenerating their arms and most of the larvae won’t survive.

Apart from ecological issues, the decline in quality and quantity of several species indeed affects the economies that rely heavily on the fisheries sector, thereby incurring heavy losses. Also regions with seafood as staple will hit numerous bottlenecks like food shortage, health issues etc.

Scientists and Monaco Declaration

The Monaco declaration represents 155 marine scientists from 26 countries, who met at an Ocean Acidification Conference in October, 2017. According to the Monaco Declaration, even though the overall ecological impact of CO2-induced acidification is unclear, the plight of these species affects the food supply for countless predators worldwide; including humans and this ripple effect throughout marine ecosystems could be disastrous. The scientists urged governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dedicate more resources to understanding acidification.

Surface ocean acidity has increased 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution. The level of acidity, measured in pH, currently appears modest – a 0.1 decrease of surface ocean pH worldwide, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Yet some scientists may already be noticing the effects of acidification. Australian researchers reported last year that sea snails in the Southern Ocean are forming thinner shells in recent years. The regions dependent on the Mediterranean Sea like MENA and other European countries, have recorded a serious decline in the quality of its aquatic food and ecotourism.

Similarly, researchers recorded more than 20 percent drops in the skeletal density of some Great Barrier Reef corals. According to the Monaco declaration, “By mid-century, ocean acidification may render most regions chemically inhospitable to coral reefs”. The IPCC also predicts acidification could cause a 0.4 decrease in ocean surface pH by 2100.

Based on current trends, acidification will likely be more severe at higher latitudes than near the equator. The declaration also notes that geo-engineering schemes – plans that would alter the environment intentionally in order to reduce the effects of climate change – are unlikely to address ocean acidification.

In theory, an attempt to deflect solar radiation would regulate the amount of sunlight that reaches Earth. But this would not reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or oceans, scientists say. Scientists have also discussed plans to spread greenhouse gas-absorbing algae throughout the ocean. But even if the algae reduced carbon dioxide in the air, the gases would then be stored under the sea.

The European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) is aimed at organizing research efforts across the European Union. In the United States, Congress is considering legislation that would develop a plan for ocean acidification research and monitoring.

The Way Forward

This issue deserves to be discussed on the same forum as global warming and climate change as these issues share a critical common factor – carbon dioxide. The consequences of ocean acidification are more than enough to have the policy makers draft amendments after amendments in the current environment protection laws and regulations and ensure their stringent execution. Communication between the different stakeholders is crucial: scientists, policy makers, CEOs, businessmen, traders, bankers, international organizations and NGOs.

Through environmental education and training, the population can be informed and included in adaptive capacities. To convince people about ocean acidification risks, scientific facts may be disseminated on a mass scale. The masses should know that the phenomena is amplifying year after year because the effects are cumulative and that it is really urgent to find mitigation and adaptation solutions for ocean acidification.

الحرب في معادلة السلوك البشري والتنمية المستدامة

الأهمية الاستراتيجية لمعادلة السلوك البشري والتنمية المستدامة صارت في مقدمة أولويات مبادئ المشروع الدولي البيئي، وتمثل تلك المبادئ توجهاً مهماً لبناء النهج الدولي المؤسس في بعده الاستراتيجي لمنظومة السلوك البشري الرشيد الذي يُكون الأركان الرئيسة لمعادلة خطة العمل الدولية لإنجاز أهداف التنمية المستدامة. ويتجسّد ذلك في النظرة الاستراتيجية في معالجة العوامل المكوّنة للخطر البيئي على الأمن الإنساني وتحديد الاتجاهات المنهجية لاستبعاد مؤسسات السلوك البشري غير الرشيد كعامل رئيس في منظومة ذلك الخطر.

الحروب المتصاعدة وآثارها التدميرية في العديد من البلدان والمناطق في العالم، من أكثر السلوك البشري غير الرشيد خطراً على صحة الإنسان والبيئة، وتشكّل أداة التدمير بعيدة المدى في آثارها السلبية على منظومة الأمن الإنساني والبيئي، وذلك جانب تنبهت إلى مخاطره البشرية وعملت على إقرار المبادئ والإلتزامات القانونية للحد من مضاعفاته السلبية على الأمن البشري قبل التنظيم الدولي الحديث لضبط الممارسات والأنشطة السلبية، والحد من تداعيات مخاطر السلوك البشري غير الرشيد على الأمن الإنساني والبيئي.

ويمكن الإشارة إلى عدد من الوثائق الدولية التي تعالج في قواعدها القانونية علاقة السلوك البشري بالبيئة، ومنها على سبيل المثال، اتفاقيتا لاهاي 1899 و1907 الخاصتان بقوانين وأعراف إدارة الحروب البرية والبحرية، وبروتوكول جنيف الخاص بحظر استعمال الغازات السامة والوسائل الجرثومية في إدارة الحروب للعام 1925، والقرار رقم (2603) الصادر عن الجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة في دورتها الرابعة والعشرين المنعقدة في 16 ديسمبر/ كانون الأول 1969، الذي أكّدت فيه على «أن استخدام المواد الكيماوية والجرثومية في العمليات العسكرية يتعارض وقواعد القانون الدولي المعروفة والمحدّدة في بروتوكول جنيف للعام 1925».

وكذلك اتفاقيات جنيف الخاصة بحماية المدنيين في ظروف النزاعات المسلحة للعام 1949، والبروتوكولات المكملة لها للعام 1977، واتفاقية حظر استحداث وإنتاج الأسلحة الجرثومية والكيماوية 1973. وتعد مبادئ هذه الاتفاقيات من القواعد القانونية الدولية المهمة التي تتناول علاقة الإنسان بالبيئة وقضايا أمن وسلامة الإنسان في ظروف النزاعات المسلحة.

المجتمع الدولي وأخذاً في الاعتبار بالحقائق المحيطة بواقع المعضلات الدولية وتطور التقنيات العسكرية وما يمكن أن يؤدي إليه ذلك من استخدام تلك التقنيات في التعدي على منظومة البيئات الطبيعية في عملياتها الحربية، جرى التوقيع على اتفاقية حظر استخدام تقنيات التغيير في البيئة لأغراض عسكرية أو لأية أغراض عدائية أخرى (1976)، وتضمينها بالالتزامات التي تحرّم الأنشطة ذات الأبعاد السلبية على الإنسان والبيئة، والتأكيد في الفقرة (1) من المادة الأولى، على أن «تتعهد كل دولة طرف في هذه الاتفاقية بعدم استخدام تقنيات التغيير في البيئة ذات الآثار الواسعة الانتشار أو الطويلة البقاء أو الشديدة لأغراض عسكرية أو لأية أغراض عدائية أخرى كوسيلة لإلحاق الدمار أو الخسائر أو الإضرار بأية دولة طرف أخرى».

وبينت المادة الثانية أنه «يقصد بعبارة «تقنيات التغيير في البيئة» كما هي مستعملة في المادة الأولى، «أية تقنية لإحداث تغيير- عن طريق التأثير المتعمد في العمليات الطبيعية – في دينامية الكرة الأرضية أو تركيبها أو تشكيلها، بما في ذلك مجموعات أحيائها المحلية (البيوتا) وغلافها الصخري وغلافها المائي وغلافها الجوى، أو دينامية الفضاء الخارجي أو تركيبه أو تشكيله».

القضايا المحيطة بواقع الآثار السلبية المحتملة للأنشطة الحربية على منظومة المعالم البيئية والأمن الإنساني، دفعت المجتمع الدولي للعمل على إحاطتها بمنظومة من المبادئ والالتزامات التوافقية ضمن استراتيجية المشروع الدولي البيئي، وجرى معالجتها منذ الخطوة الأولى للدول المتمثلة في حرصها المشترك على العمل على تنظيمها للمؤتمرات الدولية التي تعالج المعضلات البيئية العالمية، حيث جرى في مؤتمر الأمم المتحدة المعني بالبيئة (1972) التأكيد في المادة (26) على أنه «يجب أن يكفي الإنسان وبيئته الآثار المترتبة على الأسلحة النووية وأسلحة التدمير الشامل الأخرى. ويجب أن تسعى الدول جاهدةً، في إطار الهيئات الدولية المختصة، إلى تحقيق اتفاقٍ في أقرب الآجال بشأن إزالة هذه الأسلحة وتدميرها بالكامل».

وبالاتساق مع ذلك النهج، جرى الحرص في إعلان ريو بشأن البيئة والتنمية (1992) بالنص على جملة من الالتزامات، تمثلت في ما نص عليه المبدأ (24) الذي أكّد على «أن الحرب بحكم طبيعتها تدمر التنمية المستدامة، ولذلك يجب أن تحترم الدول القانون الدولي الذي يوفّر الحماية للبيئة وقت النزاعات المسلحة، وأن تتعاون في زيادة تطويره عند اللزوم».

وبالتوافق مع ذلك شدّد المبدأ (25) على أن «السلم والتنمية وحماية البيئة أمور مترابطة لا تتجزأ»، والتأكيد في المبدأ (26) «على الدول أن تفض جميع منازعاتها البيئية سلمياً وبالوسائل الملائمة، وفقاً لميثاق الأمم المتحدة». وفي السياق ذاته تؤكد الدول في المبدأ (56) من وثيقة مؤتمر القمة العالمية للتنمية المستدامة (2002) على «أن النزاعات المسلحة والحروب هي بطبيعتها مناوئة للتنمية المستدامة»، وتتبنى في المبدأ (67) عدداً من الالتزامات، وتنص «نحن ملتزمون بالعمل على جميع المستويات اللازمة لحماية كوكبنا، والنهوض بالتنمية البشرية، وتحقيق الرفاه والسلم العالميين».

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Environmental Sustainability in Qatar: Perspectives

qatar-ghg-emissionsIn recent years, the concept of environmental sustainability is slowly, but steadily, getting prominence, both in the public and private sectors in Qatar. Mounting environmental pressure has led to the development of new initiatives in several state-owned and private companies. As a major fossil exporter and one of the wealthiest countries, Qatar should do its fair share in reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions and developing strong climate adaptation plans.

Many companies are investing heavily in replacing old turbines, boilers, and furnaces, minimizing GHG and non-GHG emissions, and wastewater discharge. The new companies that were set up in last decade are adopting the best available technologies, and they are on a par of excellence with the global environmental standards. Because of national targets to minimize flaring emissions, all of the oil and gas companies have been marshaled under the national initiative by setting goals, allocating investment and monitoring the yearly changes. So far, this initiative has been remarkably successful. For example, the direct benefit of flaring reduction resulted in savings of natural gas and emissions.

The government should hasten its steps in developing a comprehensive climate policy framework addressing all sectors, with a special focus on energy-intensive industries. The industrial sector is the major contributor to country’s economy and will continue to retain this status for the next several decades. Therefore, the government and the industrial sector must prepare a comprehensive roadmap and strategic framework under the broader climate policy framework, such as “Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy”. The strategy must assess all possibilities of decarbonising the industry and set ambitious goals to minimize GHG emissions for the short and long-term.

In addition, the framework should focus on potential structural changes in the global market, technological dynamics or deployment of disruptive technologies, domestic institutional reforms, and relevant policies that can support decarbonization. The policy should foster the development and implementation of wide-ranging innovative low-carbon technologies, processes, standards, norms and legislations that enable decarbonisation of the sector by 2050. The legislative instruments should include emission caps, internalizing social and environmental costs and taxation on emissions for the industrial sector. This is also echoed in the first Natural Resource Management Strategy.

The government should press ahead with this proposition; expediting the creation of new regulations, developing a strong support system for large and small/medium sized industries and ensuring transparency and accountability. Methane is the second major source of emission from natural gas production and processing facilities. Many companies fail to measure/monitor methane emissions from their facilities. I suggest that the Ministry of Environment undertake a Methane Monitoring Initiative to measure methane emissions from extraction to delivery and also to prepare a standardization method for estimating and reporting emissions from different sources.

The Ministry must create an effective, well-functioning, transparent and less bureaucratic support mechanism for companies (medium/small scale industries or SMEs) that lack technical and financial capacity. There are several piecemeal initiatives started by different companies that are already helping in this direction. However, they are fragmented, lack coherence, monitoring, and reporting. It is important to compile all of the initiatives and develop key performance indicators and analyse the trend. So far, there is only one project accredited under the Clean Development Mechanism (Al Shaheen Oil Field Gas Recovery and Utilization Project, started in 2007). The government should exploit all possible opportunities with regard to reducing emissions and increasing economic savings. These are remarkable achievements and these companies must be recognized for their activities. Likewise, policymakers should capitalize on these efforts and raise the bar and set definitive goals and strict timelines for implementation.

Al Shaheen Oil Field Gas Recovery and Utilization Project is the sole CDM project in Qatar

Al Shaheen Oil Field Gas Recovery and Utilization Project is the sole CDM project in Qatar

According to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 15 of 2011, the respective agencies must propose policies and action plans to reduce GHG emissions and set up a database within the requirements of the UNFCCC convention and Kyoto protocol. Unfortunately, there was no tangible response to this Resolution. So far, Qatar has published only one national communication. Under the initiative of Qatar Petroleum HSE, many companies started to publish their emission data in their annual sustainability report, however, some companies continue to withhold the data. Since it is a voluntary process, there is no incentive for companies to report.

It is strongly recommended that the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) and Ministry of Energy and Industry (MoEI) issue a joint decree for a mandatory GHG and non-GHG pollution monitoring and disclosure framework. The disclosure framework must include a well-designed surveillance system to ensure transparency and accountability. Additionally, the disclosure framework will be useful in documenting the trend of overall emissions and how the new policies, regulations and technological replacements are shifting the trend. As a result of documenting emission trends, one can notice the effectiveness of energy management initiatives, which provides opportunities and encourage other companies to learn from best practices. Companies that emit more than 25,000 tonnes CO2eq should quantify, verify and publish in a single-window system that can be accessed by other ministries and the public alike.

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منهاج النظام التربوي البيئي في المملكة العربية السعودية

تمت مناقشة المادة السادسة ضمن الإتفاقية الإطارية للأمم المتحدة بشأن تغير المناخ, و التي تُعنى بالتعليم البيئي و بالأمور المناخية ,في مؤتمر بون المناخي2013 و التحضيري لمؤتمر الأعضاء في نسخته التاسعة عشر ببولندا. تنص هذه المادة على نشر ثقافة التصدي لآثار التغييرات المناخية بين الشعوب عبر إدراج مواد مخصصة في المناهج التعليمية و إشراك الطلاب في إيجاد خطط و حلول للتعامل مع هذه العوامل المناخية. بالإضافة إلى ذلك يتم عقد ورشات عمل و ندوات لتنمية المعاهد و المدارس المعنية بهذا المفهوم من حيث تبادل الخبرات, و في تسهيل مهمة إيصال المعلومات و نشرها بين شرائح المجتمع.

يقتصر دور التوعية البيئية في المملكة على جهة حكومية واحدة ألاوهي الرئاسة العامة للأرصاد و حماية البيئة, و في عدة جمعيات متعددة غير حكومية-غير ربحية. و التي .لها أثر فعال .في نشر ثقافة الإستدامة البيئية و كيفية المحافظة على الموارد الطبيعية في المجتمع السعودي.

الرئاسة العامة للأرصاد وحماية البيئة

تولي المملكة حاليآ إهتمامآ شديدآ في مجال حماية البيئة. ويأتي ذلك في لائحة النظام العام و اللائحة التنفيذية الصادرة من الرئاسة العامة للإرصاد و حماية البيئة. تأسست هذه الرئاسة في هيكلها الحالي في عام 1401 هجري, و هي تحت رعاية سمو الأمير تركي بن ناصر بن عبدالعزيز. و يندرج في قوائم عملها أجندة تحمي موارد البيئة, أي من مهامها الترويج لطرق حماية البيئة لجميع القطاعات الخاصة و الحكومية. كوضع لوائح خاصة للتخلص من المخلفات الصناعية و البناء بطرق صديقة للبيئة. فلذلك شكلت الرئاسة العامة ما يسمى بالنظام العام بالإضافة إلى اللائحة التنفيذية. تنص هذه اللائحة على أنظمة تحث على حماية الموارد الطبيعية في المملكة و أيضآ تطبيق خطوات بيئية للقطاعات العاملة مع رفع المستوى البيئي في المجتمع و الذي من شأنه تحقيق مبدآ التنمية المستدامة في المملكة. من جهة أخرى تمثل الرئاسة العامة المملكة في المحافل الدولية المختصة في تطبيق مفهوم التنمية المستدامة.

جمعية البيئة السعودية

تأسست هذه الجمعية الغير ربحية في عام 1427 هجري. و تركز كل جودها في تنمية البيئة السعودية والعمل على تحسين أوضاع سكان المناطق والمحافظات التي تعاني مشاكل بيئية وكذلك في إيجاد برامج تنمية مستدامة. إضافة إلى العمل على تنمية العمل التطوعي وذلك بإيجاد قاعدة عريضة من المتطوعين والمساهمة في تعزيز دور القطاع الخاص لخدمة قضايا بيئية في مجالات المحافظة على الموارد الطبيعية والحياة الفطرية.

الجمعية السعودية للعلوم البيئية

و تأسست هذه الجمعية في عام 1427 هجري. بمبادرة خاصة من الأمير تركي بن ناصر مع جامعة الملك عبدالعزيز. و تهدف هذه الجمعية  إلى الرقي بالعلوم البيئية وتنمية الفكر العلمي في مجالات علوم البيئة ، والعمل على نشر الوعي البيئي وتمهيد سبل الاتصال وتبادل الخبرات بين المختصين والمهتمين ، وتقديم المشورة العلمية والنظرية والتطبيقية في هذا مجال لعديد من مجالات التنمية في المملكة.

دور القطاع التعليمي في نشر الإستدامة البيئية

لا شك أن في إدراج مناهج أو مواد في النظام التعليمي عن أهمية المحافظة على الموارد البيئية, بالإضافة إلى وضع أسس قائمة على بناء أساس جوهري بآثار تغييرات المناخ بين الطلاب قد يساهم و بشكل كبير في زيادة الوعي المعرفي بأهمية الحفاظ على البيئة. ناهيك عن التصدي للتحديات الحالية و المستقبلية في ما يخص بمجال تغيرات المناخ و الطاقة في السعودية. و الجدير بالذكر أن أحد الأمثلة الحالية و الواعدة في المجال التربوي هو برنامج مدارس الحس البيئي في المملكة والذي نفذته جمعية البيئة السعودية بالتعاون مع وزارة التربية والتعليم.

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ادارة النفايات الصلبه في سلطنه عٌمان

تعتبر اداره النفايات لسلطنه عٌمان قضيه تحدي  بسبب اثارها السلبيه على البيئه والصحه العامه. مع تعداد سكاني يقارب 3 ملايين نسمه فان البلاد انتجت ما مقداره 1.6 مليون طن من النفايات الصلبه في عام 2010.  و يتعدى نصيب الفرد من انتاج النفايات  عن 1.5 كغم يوميا من بين اعلى المعدلات في جميع انحاء العالم. تتميز النفايات الصلبه في عُمان بان نسبه عاليه منها قابله لاعاده التدوير , يعد الورق بالمقام الاول  ويشكل ما نسبته 26% , بلاستيك 12%, معادن 11% و زجاج 5%. و مع ذلك فان عُمان لم تدرك بعد  الامكانيه العاليه لاعاده تدوير نفاياتها. معظم النفايات  الصلبه ترسل  الى مكبات  مرخصه وغير مرخصه لتدفن فيها مما يخلق قضايا بيئيه و صحيه. هنالك العديد من المكبات  التي تقع في وسط الاماكن السكنيه  او بالقرب من  اماكن تجميع المياه  الخاصه بمياه الشرب.

يتميز سيناريو اداره النفايات الصلبه في عُمان  بنقص في مرفق جمع النفايات و التخلص منها . النفايات الصلبه,النفايات الصناعيه , النفايات الالكترونيه وغيرها  تدفن في عشرات المكبات  المنتشره  في جميع انحاء البلاد. تضم عُمان حوالي 350 مكب/مدفن و التي تدار من قبل البلديات. بالاضافه الى ذلك هناك العديد من المكبات غير المصرح بها حيث يتم تفريغ جميع انواع النفايات فيها بشكل مستهتر.

يعد مكب العامرات اول مكب صحي  مصمم هندسيا في عُمان والذي بدأ عمله في اوائل 2011. موقع المكب يمتد على مساحه 9.6 هكتار, ويتكون من 5 خلايه و سعة اجماليه 10 مليون متر مكعب من النفايات الصلبه. كل خليه لديها 16 عمود لرعايه العصاره . كل الاعمده  متصله مع بعضها من اجل تسهيل  حركة العصاره الى مضخة الراشح. هذا المشروع هو جزء من مبادرات الحكومه لمعالجة النفايات الصلبه بطريقه علميه وصديقة للبيئه. كونها الاولى في نوعها, من المتوقع ان يكون مكب العامرات مثالا لمشاريع ادارة النفايات الصلبه المستقبليه في البلاد.

 

التخطيط للمستقبل

إدارة النفايات الصلبة هي من بين أولويات الحكومة العُمانية التي وضعت استراتيجية متينه لحل مشكلة إدارة النفايات في السلطنة. تسعى  البلاد جاهدة لإقامة 16  مكبا" صحيا" ومصمما" هندسيا، و 65 محطه تحويل النفايات و 4 محطات معالجة النفايات في أجزاء مختلفة من البلاد بحلول عام 2015.

العديد من مرافق إدارة النفايات الصلبة الحديثة يجري تخطيطها  في العديد من ولاية السلطنه ، وخاصة مسقط وصلالة. هذه المكبات الجديدة  سوف تمهد في نهاية المطاف الطريق لإغلاق مكبات النفايات المصرح  وغير المصرح بها في جميع أنحاء البلاد. غير ان استثمارات ما مجموعه 2.5 بليون ريال عماني مطلوبه  لوضع هذه الاستراتيجية لإدارة النفايات في مكانها.

بدأت  مؤخرا الشركة المملوكة للدولة عُمان لخدمات البيئه القابضة  (OESHCO)، وهي المسؤولة عن مشاريع إدارة النفايات في عُمان، عملية طرح العطاءات لثمانية مشاريع مهمة. وقد دعت  OESHCO مقدميي العطاءات من الشركات المتخصصة لتنفيذ مرافق المكبات الصحيه المصصمه هندسيا في بركاء، و الخدمات الاستشارية ل 29 محطه نقل و دعوة اثنين من مقدميي العطاءات  لخدمات إدارة النفايات في المنطقة الاقتصادية الخاصة القادمة (المنطقة الاقتصادية الخاصة) في الدقم، وغيرها.

ومن بين الأولويات العليا تطوير مكب  بركاء كموقع قائم  للتخلص من النفايات والتي تخدم ولاية بأكملها وولايات أخرى مجاورة في محافظة جنوب الباطنة، و التي تعاني من قضايا البيئة والصحة العامة.

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Biogas Feedstock in the Middle East

Anaerobic digestion (or biogas technology) is the natural biological process which stabilizes organic waste in the absence of air and transforms it into biofertilizer and biogas. It is a reliable technology for the treatment of wet, organic waste.  Organic waste from various sources is biochemically degraded in highly controlled, oxygen-free conditions circumstances resulting in the production of biogas which can be used to produce both electricity and heat. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion. 

A wide range of organic wastes are available in the Middle East for anaerobic digestion. In addition to MSW, large quantity of waste, in both solid and liquid forms, is generated by the industrial sector like sugar mills, agro=processing, food processing, leather, pharmaceuticals and paper and pulp industries. Poultry waste has the highest biogas potential per ton of waste, however livestock wastes have the greatest potential for energy generation in the agricultural sector.

Here is the list of potential feedstock for biogas production in the Middle East.

Agricultural Feedstock

  • Animal manure
  • Energy crops
  • Algal biomass
  • Crop residues

Community-Based Feedstock

  • Organic fraction of MSW (OFMSW)
  • Sewage sludge
  • Grass clippings/garden waste
  • Food residuals
  • Institutional wastes etc.

Industrial Feedstock

  • Food/beverage processing
  • Dairy
  • Starch industry
  • Sugar industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Cosmetic industry
  • Biochemical industry
  • Pulp and paper
  • Slaughterhouse/rendering plant etc.

Anaerobic digestion is particularly suited to wet organic material and is commonly used for effluent and sewage treatment. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion. This includes biodegradable waste materials such as waste paper, grass clippings, leftover food, sewage and animal waste. The exception to this is woody wastes that are largely unaffected by digestion as most anaerobic microorganisms are unable to degrade lignin. 

Anaerobic digesters can also be fed with specially grown energy crops such as silage for dedicated biogas production. A wide range of crops, especially C-4 plants, demonstrate good biogas potentials. Corn is one of the most popular co-substrate in Germany while Sudan grass is grown as an energy crop for co-digestion in Austria. Crops like maize, sunflower, grass, beets etc., are finding increasing use in agricultural digesters as co-substrates as well as single substrate.

A wide range of organic substances are anaerobically easily degradable without major pretreatment. Among these are leachates, slops, sludges, oils, fats or whey. Some wastes can form inhibiting metabolites (e.g.NH3) during anaerobic digestion which require higher dilutions with substrates like manure or sewage sludge. A number of other waste materials often require pre-treatment steps (e.g. source separated municipal bio-waste, food leftovers, expired food, market wastes and crop residues).

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Solid Waste Management in Tunisia

Solid waste management has emerged as a big challenge for the Mediterranean country of Tunisia. The country, having an estimated population of around 11 million people, produces more than 2.5 million tons of garbage each year. Tunisia is experiencing an average increase in waste volume by 3% with per capita waste generation in urban areas being 0.8 kg per day. Biodegradable organic fraction constitutes around 68% of the MSW stream.

MSW collection is covered at 80% in urban areas and 10% in rural areas. The country has 10 controlled landfills with a capacity of 1,788,000 tons per year and four other semi-controlled landfills in the Valley Medjerda with a capacity of 62,000 tons per year. Five other discharges with a nominal capacity of 0.466 million tons per year are being built and finally five other controlled discharges are planned with an average capacity of 0.433 million tons per year. Many municipal landfills do not meet sanitary standards and waste is often dumped into non-sanitary areas. Interestingly, only five percent of MSW is composted and merely 4% recycled. The expenditure for waste collection and transport constitutes 75-100% of the total solid waste management budget.

Borj Chakir Landfill

Eight kilometers south of Tunis is Borj Chakir, a town that has become infamous for a landfill that has damaging effects on the surrounding environment and quality of life of locals. The Borj Chakir landfill created in 1999 is the largest dumping ground and only regulated landfill in Tunis (which includes the governorates of Tunis, Manouba, Ariana and Ben Arous). The site occupies 120 hectares of what was once agricultural land planted with olive trees and grains. According to the facility specifications published in 1997 the landfill at Borj Chakir is intended for solid waste but current activities shows it operation outside of norms. Over the years the residents of El Attar/Borj Chakir,Jiyara and Sidi Hassine have suffered from compromised health and sanitation as a consequence of the waste collection site that has contaminated air, water, soil and as a result of their exposure to toxic odors of leachate.

Recycling Situation

The country possesses comprehensive environmental laws to encourage the sustainable management and recycling of municipal and industrial waste but there is doubt if the necessary measures for a good application have been provided. The Tunisian Government is often criticized for leaving the responsibility of waste management to the National Waste Management Agency (ANGED).

Borj Chakir landfill is a major cause of environmental and public health concerns.

Every year Tunisians use one billion plastic bags generating 10,000 tons of waste that have wreaked havoc on the environment. Almost 400 Private Companies are authorized by the Ministry of Environment to collect, transport and recycle plastics. Five private collectors and recyclers of used tires were also authorized while paper and cardboard recycling is still in its infancy. There is also a small informal sector for recycling food packaging.

Future Outlook

After the Arab Spring, Tunisia faced additional challenges maintaining existing waste management practices due to repeated strikes and dysfunctioning of municipal and rural council which destabilized cleaning service. There is a general view among the populace that the way waste is managed should be changed towards an integrated management style which entails collection to treatment because of the relationship between environmental impact and effects on human health are apparent. The market for environmental protection, pollution control equipment and technology has significant potential as anticipated tenders for landfills, coastal pollution project and waste water treatment all offer good opportunity for procurement.  

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Guide to Green Camping in Bahrain

camp-sakhirCamping is not only an outing and enjoyment but it also serve as a learning method of how to live close to the nature. Once we are enjoying the camping, we often forget and disregard the environment and mistreat it with our careless behavior.

The Bahrain authorities, like previous years, have devised plans and programs and are creating awareness among the campers on safety and environmental concerns through media, notices, bill boards and banners. As per the rules, the campers are required to camp at least 150 meters away from any oil and gas fields and more than 50 meters away from the electricity voltage pylons and main roads to ensure their safety. 

The Supreme Camping Season Committee has asked the campers to camp in the allocated areas, register their camps and obtain camping label stressing that camps that are not registered or against the rules will be removed. The campers are asked to place the label in a clear and prominent place. Placing of fencing or installing signs, poles as well as afforestation work before the start of camping season are not allowed. The committee has also urged campers to maintain their safety by providing safety equipment in tents like a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit, not to use open fires or stoves inside tents and provide an independent venue for the kitchen.

Campers are advised not to store any flammable materials in the camp in any form. Camps should be established away from slopes, to avoid damages due to rain and floods, mountain heights, restricted areas or pipes. Campers have been asked to maintain cleanliness of the camps by collecting garbage in bags and putting them in the allocated spots for garbage collection. Burning waste during or after the end of the camping season has also been prohibited. The committee also prohibited establishing buildings of brick or cement, putting barriers or tires in the camping sites. Barns are not allowed for any purpose. Keeping animals and hunting is also prohibited. The engagement in any action that would harm the environment and the wildlife is prohibited. It includes the destruction of trees, wild plants, leveling the ground etc.

Protection of the environment should be embedded in camping activities

Protection of the environment should be embedded in camping activities

The principle of green camping is “If you brought it in…. you need to take it out and leave the area just as you found it.” Let us follow some basic rules for our safety, health and environmental conservation at the camping sites.

  • Use minimum illumination and electronic gadgets.
  • Switch off all electricity appliances and instruments when not in use.
  • Use minimum water and turn off the taps after use.
  • Do not store any waste at site. Keep all recyclable and disposable waste in separate bags.
  • Avoid using disposable plates, cups, cutlery, dishes etc. Use reusable dishes and utensils and wash them after each use.
  • Don’t throw any food in open. It will attract vermin, birds, insects and rodents.

Let us be more environmental conscious and respect our resources while enjoying the camping season this year.

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Climate Change Impacts in GCC

The GCC countries face multitude of climate change challenges including desertification, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and sea level rise. The region is characterized by high temperature, high humidity and arid lands resulting in seriously degraded soil and land damage in addition to salt intrusion in the aquifers affecting the small scale agricultural lands thus enhancing the food security threat in the region.

All of the above geographical threats have therefore increased and activated the participation of GCC states in global negotiations recently as evidence are uncovered and impacts being felt across the region. If a couple of days of rain can flood parts of cities in GCC, and bring life to a standstill, the prospect of large scale climate change is a sobering thought, and a thought that needs to be translated into action.

Rise in Sea Level

One of the main climate change impacts is sea level rise on coastal areas of all Arabian Gulf states. This includes many of the large and small islands in the Gulf region which are highly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise. An example is the low-lying geology of Bahrain’s islands, which coupled with high land reclamation and extensive industrial, commercial, and residential activity in coastal zones, highlight the island’s acute vulnerability to climate change induced sea level rise.

The total land area that would be inundated under the various climate change scenarios was found to be substantial by the Bahrain Supreme Council for the Environment. Even the low sea level rise scenario will result in an inundation of about five per cent (36 km2) of the total land area of Bahrain by 2100. This level increases to about 11 per cent of total land area (69 km2) in the worst case scenario.

Inundation will unevenly affect Bahrain’s vulnerable infrastructure in the five main islands and would adversely affect cities, roads, agricultural areas, as well as beaches and salt marshes. Even in other cities, if reinforcement measures are not implemented, on coastline in Kuwait or Dubai for example, it would be damaged and altered from rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Water Availability

Continued use of non-renewable water is major factor in depleting groundwater reserves in GCC nations and puts Gulf countries at severe risk of climate impacts. In Saudi Arabia, water supply is drawn from four sources: groundwater from deep fossil aquifers, desalinated water, surface water and reclaimed wastewater.

Extracting water from deep aquifers amounts to mining the resource, as supplies are non-renewable and have been severely depleted as a result of policies which for the past three decades have subsidized not only agricultural commodities such as wheat, but also the means to produce them. It is not surprising therefore that agriculture accounts for roughly 85% of water use in Saudi Arabia.

The depletion of Bahrain’s groundwater through urbanization has led to the loss of freshwater springs, which the country was once famous for, as well as its fertile lands. Same is the case with Qatar which heavily relies on energy-intensive desalination plants for its freshwater, further driving up its electricity demand. A vast majority of desalination plants in GCC are energy-intensive and installed at a huge cost to the environment.

Food Security

The Middle East is especially vulnerable to tensions brought on by spike in food prices. This is a region where putting new land into production is not that easy because of the nature of the terrain and water shortage. In Saudi Arabia, only about 2 percent of the country’s enormous land mass is arable, even with intensive irrigation and modern farming technology.

Facing a probable 77 percent growth in its population by 2050, Saudi Arabia is grappling with the realization that its barren soil and dwindling water supply will be insufficient to feed all those people.

In Bahrain there are over 6,000 people employed in the fishing industry. Deterioration of coral reef habitats will negatively affect associated fauna and fish stocks, and eventually threaten the viability of Bahrain’s fishing industry. The loss of agricultural land due to a one metre rise in sea level is likely to be over 11 per cent of the total arable land in the country.

Biodiversity

The potential loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity under climate change is a major concern across the region. The Arabian Peninsula is a meeting point between the Indo-Asian and the Afro-European regions and enjoys a rich biodiversity in a hyper arid environment. For the terrestrial environment, the Arabian Peninsula has dozens of mammal species, hundreds of bird species, and scores of amphibian and reptile species.

For the marine environment, the Arabian Gulf’s relative shallowness supports a number of highly productive coastal habitats, including intertidal mudflats, seagrasses, algal beds, mangroves, and coral reefs, together with a wide variety of fish species, some of which are endangered. With climate change, these species, such as migratory birds and dugongs would be adversely affected.

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