16 January, 2007

The UAE is Number One...

"[w]hen it comes to squandering the earth's natural resources" according to this AP article about a World Wildlife Fund report.

"The average person in the Emirates puts more demand on the global ecosystem than any other, giving the country the world's largest per-capita "ecological footprint," WWF data shows. The United States runs second.


[T]he Emirates government has been embarrassed by the WWF report, which it says is flawed...

"It's a fact of life that the UAE will always have a large ecological footprint because of where we are," said Habiba al-Marashi, who chairs the Emirates Environmental Group. "But to be classified as the worst, that hurts. We don't think the report is on solid ground."

I have no idea how accurate the report is. I know that the AP article itself makes a pretty big error, in oversimplification, if nothing else, when it states "The United States is no longer bound by Kyoto, which the Bush administration rejected after taking office in 2001." (h/t Instapundit)


Anonymous said...

I've heard that before and always share it with my students. My pet peeve is the plastic bags. They are everywher!
I avoid using them as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to hilarious one-sided stories, Emirates Today does a great job. This one named, “Always look on the bright side of the UAE life, by Jane at expatwoman.com is amazing. Apparently Jane lives in a bubble and is not aware of a few realities. I guess her experience of the sandlands is perfect as she makes a butt load of money, just because she is Caucasian.

Pre-Christmas I was searching for a snowboard for my ambitious seven-year-old, who uses a one-metre board at Ski Dubai.[…] Most kids in Dubai have never been on that slope and might never go there, just because their parents cannot afford to take them there. These same kids will never enjoy the pleasure playing in the water at wild wadi. No prizes are being awarded for guessing why, so just move along.

It did cost over Dh2,000 for the six of us[…] that’s AED 333.33 per person. Over 63% [Source: DubaiDED] of the population in UAE make ± AED 2,000. Hard to imagine them spending that kind of money.
Our other great night out this week was at the Dubai Racing Club. We sat on the terrace outside the clubhouse […]What a fabulous night out and for just over Dh100 per head, it was a bargain. How many of the blog readers have ever been to the Dubai Racing Club? Over 93.2% of the emirates expatriate population is not welcome there, (89% of the actual population are foreigners). [Source: Chamber of Commerce ]

Just a few fun facts for anyone who might be interested.

[…]Even thought the average annual income of foreign workers in the UAE stands at AED 75,000, (~ $ 20,000)8, the foreign workers on average remit up to 85% of their annual income. These numbers are skewed due to the fact that the majority of the workers, mainly in the Construction sector, others and Services, have an annual income of less than $4,5009. These particular workers have their housing, food and other necessities provided for by their respective employers. Therefore their savings are the highest. These categories also happen to the largest percentage of the workforce (63%).[…]

[…]How much does the average worker remit?
On an average, in 2004 each foreign worker in the UAE remitted approximately $ 2981 per annum. Though a considerably small figure by western standards, it is offset by the sheer number of workers making remittances.[…]

[…]Asians and South Asians
This group makes up the largest percentage of the work force. However 95 % of this group works and resides in the UAE without the presence of their families. Hence they have a minimal expenditure. This group tends to remit on an average 90-95% of their income to their home countries.
This group is the second largest group of foreign workers in the UAE. 67% of Arab labor resides in the country with their families. Their average annual remittance to the home country as a percentage of the annual income stands at 5-15%
This category is the smallest as a percentage value, just 3 %,( 718,180), of the workforce. However it has the highest average annual income, (AED 360,000 ~ $ 98,000), in the country for any group. This group tends to have remittances as high as the first group, (Asians and South Asians), at around 80-85% of the annual income. This group is primarily made up of Europeans, Americans and South African nationals.[…]

Note: No, source has been cited for the above excerpts as they are from a certain company’s’ internal report. I.e. not for public consumption, until now. Whoops….

John B. Chilton said...

Brn beat me on the post so I have posted my version of the story at Emirates Economist.

BD said...

The report makes interesting reading and its conclusions seem to reflect reality. This is a small country, with a small population but several large industries. The country on a whole, and Dubai especially, is focused on developing a playground for as many of the world's affluent as it can lure. There's nothing wrong with that. If such people are not lapping up the world's resources in Dubai, they'll be doing it somewhere else.

This easily explains why the use of resources will soar to the stratosphere in this country. The government should not necessarily be embarrassed by this, but it should do more to encourage conservation. With careful thought and planning one can still offer luxury while curtailing waste. The metro is a step in the right direction, the promotion of sand and rock gardens as oppossed to lawns would help, notices in hotel rooms to encourage conservation, more eco-friendly buildings, etc. All this things can be done to better protect the environment while at the same time continuing to develop the country's leisure industries.

There was a report done by theworld.org recently on the use of windtowers somewhere in California, modelled after these traditional UAE structures. They were shown to cool temperatures upto 20 degrees (farenhiet, I believe). That is quite substantial. They pointed out, however, that although the technology comes from the UAE and one can now see hundreds of these windtowers on buildings in Dubai and elsewhere, these towers are in fact only decorative, without any functionality. That is pretty outrageous. These windtowers ought to be made functional.

John B. Chilton said...

brn, the msnbc version of the AP story (updated Monday evening ET) simply says "The United States is not bound by Kyoto." The AP, it seems, is capable of correcting itself - sometimes.

John B. Chilton said...


Taking account of environmental impact, tourism might be especially harmful in the UAE. I'm not sure, then, that it is in the UAE's interest to be pursuing being a playground for those well off enough to afford to visit.

And note that the msnbc version of the AP report says airplane emissions are not included -- though of course most of those move off and become some other country's problem.

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