The transformation of Dubai from desert outpost to one of the major players in the world economy is one that has taken very little time at all. Built on a bedrock of oil money, the city has become an easy target for environmentalists. Of course, the growth has taken a lot of resources. Nobody will doubt that. But at the same time Dubai has always had an eye on the future. The city has set challenging targets for sustainable energy production.
The city of Dubai looks to a future when the oil runs out. This has involved –
• Attracting the tourist spend
• Setting up places to do business
• Being at the forefront of technology
The vision of the rulers is to create a ‘City of the Future’ for all to enjoy. Sustainable development is at the heart of this.
A Sustainable Challenge
The UAE is a heavy user of resources. The World Bank estimates that the country consumes 18.8 tonnes or carbon dioxide for every person annually. While many countries are consuming more CO2 by the year, the UAE has been able to reduce the consumption dramatically. Between 1971 and 2013, this figure has shrunk by around 75%. This are great figures for an “oil city”. The Dubai Expo 2020 is the perfect showcase for what this remarkable city can achieve. The Expo will encourage –
• Mobility of people
• Sustainability of living
• Opportunity for global stakeholders
Dubai will sit at the centre of the world stage. Their sustainability pledge will form the backdrop to all of this.
The Dubai Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum lunched the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. This sets challenging targets for the city in terms of how much energy is produced by sustainable means. When you take a look at the figures, you will see how far-reaching this is –
• 7% of the power produced in the city to be sustainable by 2020
• 25% of the power produced in the city to be sustainable by 2030
• 75% of the power produced in the city to be sustainable by 2050
The Dubai Green Fund has been established to reward businesses for their contribution to these targets. Technologies are being sought that will change the old way of producing energy and provide something different. Once again, we find Dubai on the front line of change. An initiative called Dubai ‘10x’ is at the centre of this search.
Oil won’t last forever. Dubai has seen this trend coming for a long time. Becoming less reliant on oil is a long-term strategy. Changing the emphasis from oil to sustainable energy is a green move and will keep Dubai at the top of the pile. The city, society and environment will all benefit.
The economic power
When the oil price drops, then Dubai suffers. Other near neighbours may suffer more acutely, but Dubai still feels the pinch. Crude oil falls can see public spending and foreign investment drop. Being so dependent on the oil price makes Dubai vulnerable. The last economic downturn hit the city badly.
Being a global economic player means attracting investment no matter the economic outlook. Being a transport, tourism and finance hub is the driving force behind this change. The city wants to embrace the new world. Sustainable energy will kickstart this.
Being attractive to both Europe and Asia as well as the global superpower of America will see Dubai to a bright future. The image of the city should be one of vibrancy and innovation. The city has grown again recently and is showing strong signs of shaking off the housing malaise of the last few years. People who pass through should become longer-term tourists. Regular tourists should be converted into residents. The city will benefit.
Making it easy to do business
When an economy slows, leaders have a stark choice. Batten down the hatches and hope for it to pass. Or invest in the right places for a prosperous future. Dubai suffered with the economic downturn. Jobs were lost. Production slowed. Construction was stopped. Even investment took a battering. The future looks a lot brighter, particularly thanks to initiatives like this one. Promoting sustainability and investment in these technologies shows the world that the city is ready to do business.
Dubai has a place to fulfil in the modern world. It can attract investment, grow and show other oil-producing areas that there is life after the barrel has run dry. This idea will change the way the city is seen. The image of an oil-rich emirate is starting to fade with the tourist and economic attractions of the city. As this initiative takes hold, this will be an image banished forever. Trust Dubai to seek out the future faster than anyone else.