07 November, 2006

UAE's Environmental Impact

Emirates Today ran an article about "our environmentally unsustainable habits" here in the UAE. "The lion's share of the blame goes to the UAE's construction boom" says Justin Kitzes. But as the construction is replaced by conurbation expect more cars (with big engines, as advertised on the very next page - "Fuelled by Adrenaline"!) and increasing energy demands.

OK, there's loads of oil. So, no need to worry, right?

Surely there are opportunities for advancing in renewables. Plenty of sun, plenty of space suggests Solar Power could be the future.

And are we excessively wasteful here? I know I need my A/C on almost full-time. There was talk on this blog and others of the waste of food, too. I guess with such a large ex-pat population, our jetting here and there can't be very helpful either. It all adds up.

What do you think?


marwan said...

Just on the topic of travel - I'm not entirely sure people travel as much as you think. Where I live and work, most people can't afford to go home more than every couple of years. Most people here are bachelors, and that ticket goes a long way in rupees.

Used to be families went home every summer. Now how many families do you see left?

poo said...

What do you think?

Damn expatriates mess up every thing!


But in all seriousness, why not bring the culture of environmentalism along with the democratic values. Just a thought, feel free to flame away.

/me dons flame suit

Keefieboy said...

The very fact that we live in a desert climate means that we have to use huge amounts of energy to maintain our comfort. We have to have air-conditioning in our homes, workplaces and vehicles and we have to have desalinated water. Both of these things consume a lot of energy.

But we don't have to have monstrously large gas-guzzlers, irrigated forests in the desert, ski slopes and snow domes.

Sorry guys, the oil and gas have peaked. Current solar technology is massively expensive and inefficient (conventional photovoltaic solar panels are actually far less efficient in a hot climate than they are in a cold one).

The Gulf countries would be well-advised to stop thinking this lifestyle can last forever, because it will not. We do live in a hugely wasteful society, and we need to consume less of everything. The number one priority should be on energy use - switching all of your incandescent & tungsten-halogen lightbulbs over to low-energy fluorescents or LEDs (the light source of the future: made from sand, last for 100,000 hours and consume a fraction of the energy of a conventional bulb) would mean that Dubai would not need to build more power stations which it cannot get enough cheap gas to run.

Will it happen? Not without some serious pushing from above.

secretdubai said...

conventional photovoltaic solar panels are actually far less efficient in a hot climate than they are in a cold one

Now that I did not know, and it is disappointing. I have heard that with current technology, the energy used to create a solar cell, and/or the money it costs, are less than the energy created/money saved throughout the lifetime of that cell. Whether this is still true doesn't matter so much, given that technology gets better and cheaper with time, particularly as adoption grows (witness personal computers, cars, and so on).

marwan said...

Even if the panels were more effective in a hot climate, I doubt they'd survive long out here. I read somewhere that solar panels are no good in the desert because the abrasive sand shreds the bejesus out of them. Probably some truth in that one - ask the average desert safari driver how long good old rubber lasts.

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