Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources

Freshwater shortage in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) 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 … 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

Thermophilic Composting and its Relevance for MENA

Thermophilic composting of organic waste is getting increasing attention worldwide because of its ability to convert solid wastes into organic fertilizer within a short period of time. The system consists of an enclosed reactor laced with a microbe-enzyme cocktail. The commonly used microorganisms are naturally occurring bacillus sp., pseudomonas sp, bifidobacterium sp., lactobacillus sp., streptomyces sp., corynbacterium sp etc. Enzymes such as proteinase, keratinase, lipase and cellulose are employed to accelerate the aerobic digestion process. Salient Features The most important feature of thermophilic composting process is its operating temperature range of 70 – 80 °C which eliminates all pathogens and harmful … 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

Asbestos Waste Management in MENA

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 each year. More than 17,000 … Continue reading

Green Buildings and the Middle East

The Middle East region faces a unique set of challenges in terms of sustainable buildings and cities. For example, water shortage is mitigated by costly desalination and we are faced with high water consumption which leads to a higher carbon footprint and ultimately impacts climate change. Middle Eastern countries are at the top of the list of largest per capita ecological footprints. Qatar has the highest per capita level of carbon dioxide emissions, at 44 metric tons per person annually. Kuwait is second with 30.3 tons, followed by the UAE with 22.6. Therefore, integrating energy efficiency is a critical need. Benefits of Green … Continue reading

Green Roofs in MENA – Prospects and Challenges

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of benefits to communities interested in enhancement and protection of their environment. The major benefits of green roofs are reducing energy use as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing stormwater management and water quality, decreasing heat island effect by regulating temperature for the roof and the surrounding areas and providing aesthetic value and habitats for many species.   According to a 2013 MENA renewable energy status report, the Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) in Middle East and North Africa has reached about 800 million tons of oil.  This … Continue reading

EcoMENA – Vision and Mission

The MENA region is plagued by a host of issues including water scarcity, waste disposal, food security, industrial pollution and desertification. Providing free access to quality information and knowledge-based resources motivates youngsters in a big way. EcoMENA provides encouragement to masses in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world. Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to the Florentine Association of International Relations (FAIR) about the vision, aims, objectives and rationale behind the creation of EcoMENA.  FAIR: What is EcoMENA and what is its primary … Continue reading

Energy Efficiency in MENA – A Tool to Reduce GHG Emissions

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the largest oil-exporting region in the world. Around 85 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions come from energy production, electricity generation, industrial sector and domestic energy consumption. Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia figure among the world’s top-10 per capita carbon emitters. Without a change in energy policies and energy consumption behavior, MENA‘s energy-related GHG emissions will continue to grow. Presently, MENA countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuels to meet their energy requirement which is a major challenge in climate change mitigation efforts. However it also encourages local governments to … Continue reading

Alternative Energy Prospects in Morocco

Morocco, being the largest energy importer in North Africa, is making concerted efforts to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels. The country currently imports 95% of its energy needs which creates strong dependence on foreign energy imports. Renewable energy is an attractive proposition as Morocco has almost complete dependence on imported energy carriers. Morocco is already spending over US$3 billion a year on fuel and electricity imports and is experiencing power demand growth of 6.5 per cent a year. Morocco is investing heavily in the power sector by building new power plants such as expansion of coal power plant in JorfLasfer and establishment … Continue reading

Paris Agreement: Role of Effective Climate Governance Framework

It has been a while since 195 countries agreed to the Paris Agreement resulting from the UNFCCC COP21. In a few weeks, countries are expected to adopt the Agreement which will be open for signature until April 2017. While many consider that history was made as industrialized and developing countries jointly agreed on the same climate policy framework for the first time ever; others alert that the Paris Agreement is only as good as its implementation plans and review mechanisms. Nevertheless, the Paris Agreement and the process around it demonstrate an exemplary model for global governance and policy advocacy. The … Continue reading

Arab Program for Sustainable Energy Youth: Call for Applications

The Arab Program for Sustainable Energy Youth™ (APSEY) is a regional sustainable energy internship program which targets young professionals and post graduate students of engineering, economy, and law fields from the Arab region. The program aims to boost technical and operational capacities of the region’s young talents interested in renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. The program recruits 12 interns every year on two rounds for a hands-on experience in the center’s research and analysis, policy briefs, technical assistance, and other related activities. The opportunity covers full travel and accommodation expenses in Cairo in addition to a monthly salary. Intern … Continue reading

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