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UAE to lead international network of sustainable cities
The UAE, joined by Sweden, Denmark and China, will set up a network of eco-friendly cities by the end of this year to tap into each other’s experiences in their long-term urban sustainability, a senior official said Thursday.
“The UAE, Sweden, Denmark and China will shortly launch a robust, delivery-oriented network of sustainable cities to tap into the experience of each other,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, and Chief Executive of Masdar, at the end of the second Clean Energy Ministerial held in Abu Dhabi.
Stressing that the network is open for other countries to join, Dr. Al Jaber told a news conference the four countries will make the charter of the network by the end of this year or before the next Clean Energy Ministerial, scheduled for April next year in London.
Energy ministers and high-level representatives from more than 20 governments yesterday renewed support for 11 international clean energy initiatives to accelerate the global transition to a clean energy future, thus eliminating the need to build 500 mid-size power plants worldwide in the next 20 years.
US Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, said in just nine months since the United States hosted the first Clean Energy Ministerial, “we have laid the groundwork for global progress in areas such as appliance efficiency, smart grids and electric vehicle deployment”.
“Working together, we can move faster to save money, create jobs and accelerate the transition to a clean energy future,” Chu said.
The countries participating in the CEM account for 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and more than 70 per cent of global gross domestic product. They also fund the vast majority of public research and development in clean energy technologies.
The UAE has placed renewable energy and climate change high on its agenda, demonstrated through a variety of actions, including the inception of the Masdar initiative, the Abu Dhabi green building code (Estidama), the World Future Energy Summit and the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
The CEM includes 11 initiatives, which are based on areas of common interest among participants, and which are focussed on three goals: improving energy efficiency worldwide, enhancing clean energy supply and expanding clean energy access.
Governments participating in the CEM initiatives include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.
New Masafi water bottles more eco-friendly
Bottled-water company Masafi recently launched new light-weight plastic bottles with 23 per cent reduced plastic and less harmful to the environment.
The new bottles weigh just 13 grammes instead of the original 16 grammes. The improved technology will help Masafi cut down on approximately 645 tonnes of plastic PET & HDPE (Polyethylene Terephthalate and High-Density Polyethylene) which will reduce their carbon emissions proportionally on an annual basis. The new bottles will produce 0.023 kilograms less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per bottle.
The 500 millilitre PET bottles have been made with 18.7 per cent less plastic by introducing light-weight neck and petalloid base. For HDPE closures used in water bottles, the weight is reduced by 30 per cent from 2.5 grammes to 1.75 grammes.
"In no way, have we compromised the sturdiness of the Masafi bottles. A water bottle must be strong enough to hold water without any failure ... Our Research and Development team has worked hard to determine what is ‘strong enough', and have conducted numerous tests to achieve this. We have targeted the excess PET only at neck and base, keeping the bottle strength as before," said a spokesperson from Masafi.
The spokesperson said other Masafi products and sizes will be available "at a later stage".
The future of plastic however is moving towards using oxo-biodegradable plastic, which degrades more quickly, currently being phased in for all grocery plastic bags as part of a national campaign to eliminate non biodegradable plastic by 2013.
"This is a natural evolution process and we are in the process of introducing the oxo-biodegradable plastic in other products too," said the spokesperson.
The launch of the new bottles is a step in Masafi's Carbon Action Plan — an initiative launched in 2008 aimed at reducing the carbon footprint in the UAE by cutting down on the carbon emissions from its manufacturing unit, product offerings, systems as well as services.
In November 2009, Masafi launched oxo-biodegradable films in its shrink-wrap packaging for water bottles. Conventional shrink-wraps can take up to 400 years to break down, while the new one takes two years.
Something fishy: Lake of death at Arabian Ranches
Dubai: Residents of the Arabian Ranches and developer Emaar have blamed each other for thousands of dead fish that washed ashore a lake inside the upscale community last week.
"After a sudden dip in the water level, fish by the thousands appeared dead on the shoreline," said Chris, a resident of the Al Reem community where the lake is located. "I suspect the lake was poisoned to control fish stocks," he alleged, adding, "There has to be a more responsible way to manage marine life."
Another resident said, "My parents first noticed the dead fish. We also saw soap-like bubbles in the lake. And the stink in the neighbourhood was unbearable."
She said when she lodged a complaint with Emaar, a team came to the area and scooped out the dead fish into black bags.
"But the stench persisted and more fish surfaced the next day. We have no clue what is going on. We fear the deaths were due to chemical dumping," she said.
An Emaar spokesperson told XPRESS, "Emaar's environmental management team undertook prompt studies on the water quality and other parameters after spotting some dead fish. The team also immediately removed the dead fish.
"The oxygen concentration and salinity of the water were evaluated at various points in the lake and were found to be in the normal range. However, the lake had the presence of foam, especially in the section where the dead fish were found, which was identified to possibly have been caused by detergents or car cleaning fluids," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Emaar Community Management is sending reminders to residents to refrain from car washing in community areas and avoid disposing chemicals through the storm water drainage, parts of which are connected to the lake.
"The operational hours of the aeration system of the lakes have also been increased and the fish stock will be re-evaluated and restocked in the coming weeks. The community lakes are stocked with fish as an ecologically-friendly pest control method to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes," added the spokesperson.
UAE contributes to four clean energy initiatives
The UAE has placed renewable energy and climate change high on its agenda
Clean energy technologies are making clear progress globally, but achieving sustainable energy goals will require a doubling of all renewable energy use by 2020, according to Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency.
Speaking at the second Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM2) conference that opened in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Jones said as fossil fuels continue to outpace clean energy technologies, more aggressive clean energy policies were required, including the removal of fossil fuel subsidies and implementation of transparent, predictable and adaptive incentives for cleaner, more efficient energy options.
He said the recent earthquake in Japan and resulting damage have led countries to review nuclear safety and investments across the board. As a result, nuclear expansion is likely to be slower than planned, he said.
Countries around the globe are currently constructing 66 nuclear reactors that should add 60 Gigawatts by 2015.
A high-level global forum promoting policies and programmes to advance clean energy, the Clean Energy Ministerial brought together ministers from the world's major economies.
In cooperation with the United States, the UAE led the dialogue amongst 21 governments - including ministers, business leaders and nongovernmental organisations - to progress initiatives that will accelerate the world's transition to clean energy.
The UAE is actively participating in four initiatives, which include the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment Women's Initiative (C3E), the Clean Energy Solutions Centre, the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Action Group, and the Multilateral Working Group on Wind and Solar Technologies. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, and Chief Executive of Masdar, reiterated that the UAE is acting to develop and help shape the policies and programmes that will facilitate a future based on clean energy solutions.
Ministers at CEM2 are building upon 11 specific initiatives, with a focus on energy efficiency, clean energy supply and mobilising smart public finance. The government officials will also collaborate with the private sector and other stakeholders from around the world in roundtables to engage in dialogue on clean energy issues including: regulatory strategies for utility-scale energy efficiency; innovative technologies for energy efficiency; renewable energy and energy access; and sustainable cities.
As part of the C3E Initiative, distinguished female leaders from around the world will discuss "The Role of Women in the Clean Energy Revolution" in an event hosted by the Masdar Institute.
The UAE's contributions to initiatives like C3E - which will inspire and empower young women to become clean energy leaders - are creating tangible, real-life tools to support the nation's long-term transition to a knowledge-based economy centred around sustainable energy solutions.
CEM2 comes to Abu Dhabi during an important week when the emirate also hosted the historic First Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA is mandated by its members to promote the adoption of renewable energy worldwide.
The UAE has placed renewable energy and climate change high on its agenda, demonstrated through a variety of actions including the inception of the Masdar initiative, the Abu Dhabi green building code (Estidama), the World Future Energy Summit and the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Governments participating in the Clean Energy Ministerial initiatives include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Masdar sets standards for manufacturing processes
Construction material from timber, steel, aluminium, paint and cement based in the UAE has vastly improved the country's manufacturing processes to meet standards of Masdar City, benefiting construction regionally.
The Masdar City supply chain requirements have helped spur product innovation and improved manufacturing processes. This has opened market opportunities for UAE companies, said Dr Nawal Al Hosani, Associate Director of Sustainability, Masdar.
"Building one of the world's most sustainable, urban developments in Abu Dhabi provides a platform to educate the local construction industry about the advantages of sustainable development," said Dr Nawal.
Masdar suppliers include Oceanic General Trading which has become the first GCC-wide, sustainable timber merchant. All timber not only has to be sourced from certified, sustainably managed forests but show an unbroken chain of custody to guarantee that certification.
"We are the first GCC-wide Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody timber merchant," said Siddharth Patel, partner at Oceanic. Ninety-five per cent of the timber sold comes from FSC-certified sources.
Challenged to develop a local, more sustainable concrete, Al Falah Ready Mix developed Al Facrete, which generates 50 per cent less CO2 to produce a specific amount of concrete.
"The value of Masdar City goes beyond just environmental obligations. It encompasses the three pillars of sustainability: environment, social and economic. A regional green supply chain has emerged to provide local, green building materials, help create jobs, and encourage better working and living standards," said Dr Nawal.
Similarly, paint and coating maker Jotun developed Fenomastic Emulsion Gold, a paint for interiors that delivers improved indoor air quality. Reem Emirates Aluminum (REA) is also playing a big role in the region by delivering energy-efficient, high-tech custom aluminium facades.
REA developed and installed the facades throughout the Masdar Institute campus — providing efficient insulation, along with adhering to the green building codes.
New building in Abu Dhabi to produce more clean energy
Abu Dhabi: A new energy-producing "green building" to be completed next year in Abu Dhabi by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology will produce at least two megawatts of electricity from solar and photovoltaic (PV) panels, an official told Gulf News recently.
This will be in addition to the 11.5 megawatts of solar power already being produced by the institute and Masdar City, Martyn Potter, Director of Operations and Facilities, said.
Solar panels will be used to heat water and photovoltaic panels will directly convert the solar radiation into electricity, he explained.
The approximately 90,000 square metre building will have both solar and photovoltaic panels on its roof, which will together produce the estimated two megawatts of power, Potter said. He added that the construction of the building and the installation of the panels will be completed by next year.
Out of the 11.5 megawatts of solar power generated by the institute and Masdar City, 1.5 megawatts come from solar panels on the roof of the 65,000 square metre main building, he said. The rest is generated by a photovoltaic (PV) farm in Masdar City.
The institute uses around six to seven megawatts of power out of the 11.5 produced and the rest is sold to the power grid of Abu Dhabi, Potter said.
The institute has already adopted several methods to produce and save energy. A wind tower is already powering the cooling system. Sunlight reaches even the basement of the building during the day, so that electric lights are used only at night.
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ENVIRONMENT NEWS FROM THE
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11 April 2011
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