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 … Continue reading

Desalination Outlook for MENA

Desalination is a water treatment process that separates salts from saline water to produce potable water. The desalination process uses large amount of energy to produce pure water from salt water source. Salt water is fed into the process, and the result is an output stream of pure water and another stream of waster with high salt concentration. Desalination techniques are mainly classified into two types: Processes based on physical change in the state of the water, and Processes using a membrane that employ the concept of filtration. There are more than 15,000 industrial-scale desalination units worldwide, with combined capacity exceeding … Continue reading

Energy Management in the Middle East

Managing and reducing energy consumption not only saves money but also helps in mitigating climate change and enhancing corporate reputation. The primary objective of energy management is to achieve and maintain optimum energy procurement and utilisation, throughout the organisation which may help in minimizing energy costs and mitigating environmental effects. Infact, energy management is widely acknowledged as the best solution for direct and immediate reduction of energy consumption. Importance of Energy Management Energy should be regarded as a business cost, like raw material or labour. Companies can achieve substantial reduction in energy bills by implementing simple housekeeping measures. Reduction and control of energy usage … Continue reading

Energy Efficiency Perspectives for MENA

MENA countries are facing an increasing challenge in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia figure among the world’s top-10 per capita carbon emitters. In case of business-as-usual scenario, GHGs emissions from the energy sector will continue to rise throughout the region. According to a recent report by International Energy Agency (IEA), energy intensity demand in MENA is mainly driven by population and economic growth and reliance of heavy industries on generous energy subsidy. It is projected that primary energy demand in the region will be doubled by 2030 and the region’s … Continue reading

Renewable Energy in World’s Top-10 Oil Producing Countries

In April 2019, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed a bill that aims to power the island totally through renewable energy by 2050. It also aims to completely give up coal by 2028. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America, which is today the world’s largest oil producing country. This begs the question, what are the world’s top 10 oil producers doing to increase energy from renewable sources? First, let us have a look at how much oil these countries produced in 2017, which was the latest data available at the time of writing this article. … Continue reading

The Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in MENA

Freshwater shortage in the MENA region is posing a serious threat to economic growth, social cohesion, peace and political stability. Furthermore, today’s freshwater usage does not account for its present and future availability but rather is based on sectoral and geographical competing consumption needs. To make matters worse, this already dire situation is being exacerbated by the rapidly changing climate. Climate change affects water resources by its profound impact on water quantity, variability, timing, form, and intensity of precipitation. The MENA region, in particular, is highly vulnerable to the disruptive climate change effects because countries within this region are unarguably … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health: Perspectives for Arab World

Climate change is not only affecting the economies of Arab world but also having detrimental impacts on the very fabric of society, through threats to public health and livelihoods. Climate change in the Arab world is also exacerbating social inequalities, hitting the rural poor the hardest. This is not a reason for complacency amongst the wealthy urban classes. Basic humanitarianism aside, history suggests that physical hardships can breed wider unrest: a body of evidence suggests that poor harvests caused by a major Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 1783 triggered no less an event that the French Revolution. Extreme weather events … Continue reading

A Glance at Carbon Finance

The main objective of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is to promote sustainable development in developing countries and to allow industrialized countries to earn emissions credits from their investments in emission-reducing projects in developing countries. A particular CDM project cycle involves a wide range of transaction costs which may include the following: Project identification and selection: Costs incurred by project developers and potential investors in identifying prospective projects. Project development and baseline determination: Information costs related to the preparation of a project concept note providing relevant information on project baseline, expected additional emission reductions and corresponding costs. Project validation: The process of independent … Continue reading

Understanding Qatar’s Ecological Footprint

Qatar’s environmental impact remains worryingly high. The country’s per capita ecological footprint is now the second highest in the world, as another Gulf state, Kuwait, has overtaken it to become the worst offender of the 152 countries that were measured, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2014. The third country in the list is the UAE, with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, in 33rd position. By comparing the total footprint with the planet’s biocapacity – its capacity to generate an ongoing supply of renewable resources and to absorb waste -the report, based on 2010 … Continue reading

The Potential of Green Hydrogen in the MENA Region

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) offer impeccable weather conditions to develop renewable energy continuously all year round. There are currently over 1500 wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the area with a producing capacity of over 20GW[1] and these numbers are expected to grow exponentially in the forthcoming years[2]. Recently, hydrogen has received an unprecedented attention in the global energy scenery. Over 30 countries have revealed their hydrogen strategies, and more are expected to follow. Just in the MENA region, 10 countries have ambitions in developing the technology and are prepared to invest in related projects, in … Continue reading

Asbestos Waste Management in the MENA Countries

Each year countries from the Middle East and North Africa import large amount of asbestos for use in the construction industry. As per the last known statistics, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 20% of world demand for the material. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest consumers of the material. Infact, the entire Middle East has been steadily increasing their asbestos imports, except for Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are the only two countries that have placed bans on asbestos but with questionable effectiveness. Iran alone has been reported to order 30,000 tons of asbestos … Continue reading

Desertification in MENA – Causes and Solutions

Desertification is a worldwide phenomenon afflicting countries all over the world. The desert is making a comeback in the Middle East, with fertile lands turning into barren wastes. According to United Nation’s Development Program’s 2009 Arab Human Development Report, desertification is threatening around one-fifth of the MENA region. China is experiencing desertification at an alarming rate – as much as 1,300 square miles each year. Sub-Saharan Africa is drying up, as are regions of Turkey that were once rich agricultural lands. During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the world’s leaders adopted the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and agreed on the desertification definition … Continue reading