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Looking into the past for a clean future

Dubai , January 17, 2008

For a change, Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, one of the fastest growing modern economies in the region, is turning back to old cities from the Arab world for inspiration, to build its most ambitious ‘zero-carbon-zero-waste’ project – the Green City – in the desert.

 

The plans of the multi-billion-dollar project show narrow streets, squat buildings and no cars as in the early days, says a Reuters report.

 

The city will have power generated by photovoltaic panels, while cooling will be provided through concentrated solar power. (The water will be provided via a solar-powered desalination plant.)

 

Landscaping within the city and crops grown outside the city will be irrigated with grey water and treated waste water produced by the city's water treatment plant.

The solar panels will act as awnings to shelter pedestrians from the sun. Transport will be futuristic travel pods that do not consume petrol. Solar and wind energy will power the city and its water desalination plant.

 

The Green City, a town of up to 15,000 residents, is being steered by Masdar, an initiative set up by the Abu Dhabi government to develop sustainable and clean energy.

 

Abu Dhabi, which has over 90 per cent of the country's oil reserves, want to become a pioneer of alternative energy.

 

“It is one of a string of projects that the world's fifth-largest oil exporter is eyeing as it looks to reduce some of the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions,” Masdar's Chief Executive Sultan Al Jaber said.

 

According to a UN Development Programme report issued last year, UAE greenhouse gas emissions were 34.1 tonnes per head in 2004, the third highest in the world after Qatar and Kuwait and well above US per capita emissions of 20.6 tonnes.

 

'We recognise the carbon footprint of the UAE and are working on a number of fronts to help reduce our emissions. Our objective is to make Abu Dhabi the centre of the future of energy.'   'We will break ground on the city in the first quarter,' Jaber said.

 

The alternative energy projects also aim to place the UAE at forefront of the future energy industry after oil and enhance its reputation at a time of growing concern over climate change.

 

 Jaber declined to estimate the cost of building the city in the harsh des


Tags: abu dhabi | Masdar | green city | clean | zero-carbon | past |

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