Sustainability in the Middle East: Complications and Opportunities

The Middle East region is facing a unique set of natural, operational, political, economic and social challenges in efforts to adopt sustainability. The rapid development and increasing population in these countries have led to an increased consumption of fossil fuels, water, and other non-renewable natural resources, taking a toll on the environment. Though the Middle East countries have significantly contributed to the carbon emissions, over the past decade they have taken positive steps towards addressing the core environmental issues and improving sustainability situation in their respective countries. This article aims at sharing the common challenges and opportunities faced by the … Continue reading

Renewable Energy Initiatives at The Hashemite University

The Hashemite University, located in Zarqa (Jordan), has adopted a comprehensive environmental management strategy directed towards a green campus and climate action. The Hashemite University is currently the leader among public and private sectors’ institutions (especially in photovoltaics) in Jordan, and has transferred its expertise to several projects in Jordan and in the MENA region. Key Projects On June 5, 2016, the Hashemite University (abbreviated as HU) has implemented a 5 MWp photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy project that achieved 100% energy independence for the university. The project is implemented in two parts: Grid-Connected Project with 1,018 kWp realized as Pedestrian … Continue reading

Reasons Why Fracking is Environmentally Unsound

Fracking is, “the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside” [1]. Fracking remains controversial due to its negative effect on the environment- especially in light of climate change. As such, it is necessary to explore the downsides of fracking as well as environmentally-friendly alternatives. Negative Impacts of Fracking Fracking is a very popular source of energy. However, it is unsustainable and wasteful.  This is as, “fracking uses huge amounts of water, which must be transported to the site at significant environmental cost” [1]. In addition, … Continue reading

Environmental Outlook for the Arab Region

The overall environmental outlook in the Arab region is bleak, despite progress on some fronts, according to the latest report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED). Entitled Arab Environment in 10 Years, the report crowns a decade of annual reports on the state of the environment in the Arab world. The AFED reports have become major references for highlighting progress, identifying problems facing the Arab world, and recommending alternative solutions.  Key Issues at Stake Having an environmental organization focused solely on the Middle East is essential when considering the characteristics specific to the region. As outlined in … Continue reading

Peak Oil: Perspectives for Saudi Arabia

The term ‘peak oil’ is ominous to the Middle East, as most of the countries in the region are heavily dependent on oil and natural gas for industrial, economic and social development. Petroleum is considered one of the world’s most important sources of energy generation, after uranium, of course. Many other substances have been tested in order to be used as alternatives to petroleum, but none have hitherto been successful. Scientific research illustrates how the world is facing catastrophe if it doesn’t find an alternative to oil, as it is currently impossible for the global economy to grow without sufficient amounts … Continue reading

Renewable Energy in the Middle East

The Middle East energy sector has played and will continue to play an important role in the regional as well as global economy. The oil and gas sector is the largest economic sector in the region. In addition to satisfying energy needs for economic and social development, it is the source of oil and gas export revenues contributing to economic development. Regional countries are heavily dependent on oil and gas to meet their domestic energy demand. Oil contributes more than half of the total energy demand in the Middle East while the rest is contributed by natural gas. Widespread use … Continue reading

Islam, Economics and a Blueprint for Sustainable Development

Islamic economic thought is heavily based on the concepts of fairness and justice. Trade is encouraged- but only within the guidelines of the Shariah (Islamic law). As a result, the Islamic economic system is largely value-driven and fits within the principles of sustainability. A key Islamic principle concerns how “everything belongs to God, and wealth is held by people in trust”. [1] This means that human beings have a God-given duty to care for the Earth. In turn, this links with the idea of Khilafa (stewardship).  The Holy Qur’an states, “Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on … Continue reading

#InspireMENA Story 2: Ruba Al-Zu’bi – Inspiring Green Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship

Ruba Al-Zu’bi is a very well-known sustainable development policy and planning expert, and a true inspiration for youngsters in Jordan and beyond. Currently she is the Adviser for Science Policy and Programme Development to HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, the President of the Royal Scientific Society (RSS). Prior to that, Ruba led the Scientific Research Department at Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation. In the past, she had been the CEO of EDAMA, a Jordanian business association that seeks innovative solutions to advance the energy, water and environment sectors. Ruba Al-Zu’bi is Global Resolutions’ Jordan Ambassador and a Plus Social Good … Continue reading

Energy Outlook for the Middle East

There are several problems confronting the world with respect to its fossil fuels-based energy supply. The first problem relates to the ever-increasing use of fast-depleting conventional sources of energy, like petroleum, coal and natural gas. The contribution of fossil fuels in global energy supplies is above 80 percent. Energy demand will certainly increase manifolds during this century due to industrial and developmental activities as burgeoning world population. Global Trends in Energy Sector The concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere is rising rapidly with use of fossil fuels leading to increasing emission of carbon dioxide which is having a … Continue reading

Biomass Energy in Jordan

Jordan has promising biomass energy potential in the form of municipal solid wastes, crop residues and organic industrial wastes.  Municipal solid wastes represent the best source of biomass in Jordan. In terms of quantity per capita and constituents, the waste generated in Jordan is comparable to most semi-industrialized nations. Agricultural biomass offers a low energy potential due to arid climate in most of the country. The major biomass energy resources in Jordan are: Municipal waste from big cities Organic wastes from slaughterhouse, vegetable market, hotels and restaurants. Organic waste from agro-industries Animal manure, mainly from cows and chickens. Sewage sludge … Continue reading

Future Water Scenarios in GCC

Water is an important vector in the socio-economic development and for supporting the ecosystem. In the arid to extremely arid Arabian Peninsula, home of the GCC countries, the importance and value of water is even more pronounced. The GCC countries of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, are facing the most severe water shortages in the world.  Rainfall scarcity and variability coupled with high evaporation rates have characterized this part of the world with a limited availability of renewable water.  However, the scarcity of renewable water resources is not the only distinctive characteristic of the region, … Continue reading

Cleantech Investment by AfDB

The African Development Bank, through its public and private sector departments, is currently implementing several clean energy projects and programs to address these priorities particularly in the energy and forestry sectors. The Bank's energy portfolio currently stands at about USD2 billion. The AfDB provides two lending windows. The first is a public window, with mostly concessional funds available to governments. The second is a private window, which offers debt and equity on commercial terms.  The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank are in the process of applying to the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) Trust Fund Committee for use … Continue reading