Each month, Weekend will pose a different question to be debated on by a series of female Emirati columnists. This week, we ask Aida Al Busaidy:
What can the UAE do to reduce its carbon footprint?
The latest buzzwords used of late dance around the term “carbon”; be it “carbon footprint” or “zero carbon” and sometimes “carbon neutrality”.
Now, unless you weren’t dozing off in one of your science classes back in the day, “carbon” is and always will be a part of who we are, what we do and use daily. The question is, when is carbon good and when is it bad? The issue arises when we talk about the emissions of carbon from producing energy, which damages the Earth’s atmosphere.
Depending on what report you’ve read and when, the UAE has been listed on several fronts as having the second-highest per-capita carbon emissions in the world. What the UAE has done in the last four decades surpasses the efforts of many nations who have been around for centuries, but that came with a price attached to it. Creating an urban living environment that fosters growth for both people and businesses to flourish creates large amounts of carbon emissions. However, that was recognised and, as the only oil-producing nation in the world to create an agenda to produce clean energy, I’d say that we’re doing pretty well.
From creating government policies to supporting large corporations and educating the general public, different projects across the UAE are helping to curb the issue of carbon emissions.
Take a look at Masdar: the energy company that was established in 2006 is working with governments and businesses to create awareness of its projects, both locally and internationally. The projects that Masdar invests in are long-term; as a commercial entity that aims to diversify Abu Dhabi’s economy, Masdar’s role goes beyond making profits to building a knowledge-based economy for the UAE to harness the power of clean energy.
The list of Masdar’s activities goes on, but let’s look at what is being done on other fronts. Dubai is moving full speed ahead with its Vision 2030 plan. With its winning bid to host the World Expo 2020, one of Dubai’s sub-themes is sustainability, with a huge focus on educating the public about reducing its carbon footprint through various initiatives, supporting small and medium enterprises and large corporations for cleaner production.
As individuals, our role must be to contribute positively towards building a better future, from taking public transportation to reducing food consumption or even creating an idea stream that could help the Government develop it into a policy.
As a young nation, we’re learning and developing as we grow. What’s good is that, whatever mistakes we make, they can be rectified because of our ability to understand who we are and where we intend to be in the next few decades.
Aida Al Busaidy is a social-affairs columnist and has formerly worked for an energy company.
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