Sunday, July 5, 2009

Keen on green, Dubai sets ball rolling

The Gulf Today, 27 Oct 2008
THE curtain for the two-day-long Green Dubai World Forum 2008 fell on Saturday, ensuring Dubai’s commitment to establish itself as a leader in global issues with direct impact on the future of humanity.
The global summit has evoked a serious debate on global environmental issues with particular emphasis on the impact of climate change and global warming issues in the Middle East.
Creating dialogues on the significance of turning Dubai’s construction scene into green, the forum discussed the inevitability of focus on sustainability and renewable energy.
On the first day of the forum, Nobel Prize laureate and former South African president FW Klerk said, “The greatest obstacle in implementing a renewable energy system is not technology or money but lack of public awareness. Forward looking thinkers should inspire citizens and their political and scientific leaders about the incredible potential of renewable energy resources.”
Acting Director General Dubai Municipality’ Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah delivered the opening speech at the forum. He said, “To attain the a sustainable environment in future, a balance between increase in energy supply and decrease in CO2 emissions should be practiced through synergetic, substantial and sustained efforts from policy makers, scientists and the private sector.”
Dubai World Chairman Sultan Bin Sulayem announced the installment of the Middle East’s largest photo-voltaic manufacturing facility will be installed in Dubai’s Technopark.
“A 130-mega watt manufacturing plant will be set up as part of the first phase of the project, which will be operational by the end of 2010,” he said.
“The potential of solar source is unbelievable, as the energy from sunlight striking the earth for 40 minutes is equivalent to the global energy consumption for a whole year,” added Dilip Rahulan, chairman of Solar Technologies.
Hussain Nasser Lootah told, “Dubai has a key role in securing a sustainable future. The world cannot choose between development and environment, as we need the both. We should focus on educating the society, changing people’s habits, construction of environ-friendly buildings, developing new technologies, making the economies more energy efficient and investing in sustainable and renewable energy sources.”
“The world is facing serious energy dilemma. Increased use of fossil energy is the main reason why global greenhouse gas emissions have increased so much over the last decades. On the other hand, increased energy use is also one of the main reasons why global welfare has increased so much. The increase of global energy use has helped to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” he added.
Lootah said that under the leadership of Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Government of Dubai has put the environmental issues at the forefront of its polices as His Highness has approved Dubai’s Environment Plan as part of Dubai’s Strategic Plan for 2015.
“As part of Dubai’s Environmental Plan, Dubai Municipality and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority are putting together new Green Building regulations aimed at conserving resources and improving the quality of life for the emirate’s residents,” he added.
On the second day, Assistant Director of Planning and Engineering in the Dubai Municipality said, “As a major green initiative, a first-of-it-kind energy plant project in the region is on the anvil in Dubai. Two plasma technology enabled energy plants, intended for producing power from waste will be operational in Jebel Ali and Al Aweer areas by the next year. The waste will be gasified by using electric-plasma torches and the gas will be transferred to produce electricity.”
“A manual with guidelines with green building regulations for energy and conservation water will be issued by the Municipality to ensure sustainability of environment in Dubai. In conjunction with the standards, all buildings in the emirate will be certified gold, platinum and silver ratings by 2009. We are planning to turn all building s in Dubai eco-friendly and energy efficient within the next five to ten years,” he pointed out.
Director of the Climate System Research Centre and professor at the University of Massachusetts Raymond SBradley stated, “To avoid damage due to climate change and rising sea levels, serious re-inforcement measures should be applied around Dubai’s coastline. Sustainable agriculture had been left out of the sustainability discussions going on in the UAE. So, effective infrastructures are needed to get rid of disasters and catastrophe.”
Christopher O’ Donnell, CEO of Nakheel, delivered the keynote address in the second session on Saturday.
Environmental entrepreneur Paul Hawken and Jerry Yudelson, leading green building expert in the United States and founder and principal at Yudelson Associates, a consultancy based in Tucson-Arizona were also participated in the forum.
The Green Dubai World forum will continue as an annual event, a spokesperson informed.

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