An 'enormous challenge': How Dubai plans to reduce its carbon footprint

Published April 14th, 2015 - 11:40 GMT

Dubai is among the world’s leaders in the promotion of sustainable energy as it steadily works to diminish its vast carbon footprint, according to the CEO of the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence (DCCE).

The DCCE was founded in January 2011 by an agreement between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and the UN Development Programme, with the mission of facilitating Dubai’s transformation into a low carbon economy.

The UAE has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world. According to the 2015 UAE State of Energy Report, in 2010 the UAE produced just under 20 tonnes of CO2 emissions per person, a 63 per cent increase from 2000.

According to DCCE statistics, water and electricity generation accounts for 33 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UAE, followed closely by public and private road transportation, which is responsible for 22 percent.

Despite the enormity of the challenge, DCCE CEO Ivano Ianelli said that since it was founded, the organisation has made significant progress in its ability to track and monitor carbon emitters in Dubai, as well as in providing local partners with the knowledge and ability to do more with less resources.

“Dubai Carbon has made exceptional progress since it’s inception in 2011,” he said. “We focused on data-centric platforms such as GHG (greenhouse gas) inventories on geographical and sectorial bases. We also focus on knowledge management. Our greatest asset is making our partners succeed with their project, activities and strategies and their success allows for our growth.”

Ianelli noted that many UAE businesses are aggressively seeking out greater energy efficiency policies, which often have economic benefits.

“Businesses…are very determined to excel in this part of the world,” he said. “They might not be pursuing a CO2 reduction strategy because of their environmental commitment, but rather because they wish to be best in class, hence resource efficiency plays a pivotal role.”

Ianelli added that the behaviour of individuals and households is key to reducing the UAE’s carbon footprint.

“There are plenty of way individuals can help,” he said. “People can effectively reduce their emissions by using day to day necessities such as light, electricity and water more efficiently. Such small tweaks in one’s daily life go a long way in reducing their emissions.”

“However, changing the behaviour of individuals within the UAE is seen as a bit of a challenge, given the somewhat different lifestyle that is lead here,” he added. Encouraging consumers to use less, consume less and waste less, is key to supporting the move to green economy. And I think we are making more and more of an impact.”

As part of their efforts, representatives from the DCCE will join a number of other sustainability-focused organisations for an Earth Day environmental conference on April 21st at the Alliance Francaise in Oud Metha.

Ianelli also said that Dubai is well placed to become a global leader in sustainability in the near future.“Dubai is an extremely competitive city and it has increasingly been placing sustainability among the priorities of its agenda for current and future projects,” he said.


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