Going Green

Sustainable & environmentally friendly economy

Qatar has an arid desert climate characterized by high temperatures, hot dry summer winds, and a high relative humidity for the greater part of the year. This makes Qatar highly […]

Qatar has an arid desert climate characterized by high temperatures, hot dry summer winds, and a high relative humidity for the greater part of the year. This makes Qatar highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, especially as a gas-rich country that emits more carbon dioxide per person than any other country in the world. But make no mistake, the Qatari leadership is fully aware of the risks posed by climate change and pollution and is taking all necessary steps to reduce the CO2 footprint of all the sectors of the economy.

For starters, Qatar was among the first countries to accede to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1996, the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, and the Paris Agreement in 2016. But Doha was ahead of the pack even before the fight against climate change went global, establishing an environmental protection committee in 1981 to regularly monitor and assess the environmental situation, to prepare environmental legislations, policies, and plans, and to co-ordinate national activities in different fields of environmental protection.

Add to this Qatar National Vision 2030, which was launched in 2008 to prioritize environmental protection and economic diversification, and you have a country that is hell bent on fixing the planet. What’s more, in recent years, Qatar has been hedging its bets on emerging technologies and innovative architecture techniques in an effort to fight climate change and at the same time boost its economic competitiveness.

In August 2019, the Public Works Authority paved over a 200-m stretch of road with layers of bright blue material designed by a Japanese company that unlike asphalt reflects much of the sun’s radiation. Remarkably, temperature readings dropped by as much as 12 degrees.

Not so far away from the magic road is the Qatar Foundation, a progressive organization set up by Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the current emir’s mother. The foundation is currently overseeing Msheireb Downtown Doha, a newly developed district that aims to make Doha one of the most sustainable cities in the world.
The 31-ha zone features walkways and streets that take advantage of breezes coming from the north; cylindrical pillars that blow cool air in an open courtyard featuring water fountains and a sun-blocking canopy; shady overhangs that make walking outside a cooler experience; and 6,400 solar panels that generate 4% of the required energy. Moreover, most of the more than 100 buildings in Msheireb are fitted with solar panels, solar water heaters, and overhangs designed to shade the surrounding sidewalks.

Taking it up a notch, the mixed-use district also has hidden features, such as underground waste collection stations and systems that recover rainwater and air conditioning condensation into basement tanks, where the water is then reused for irrigation and other purposes.

Globally, Qatar is pushing the case for sustainable development by hosting the world’s first carbon-neutral World Cup. This means that for every mile flown between countries, every mile driven between venues, and every air conditioner running overtime, there will be an offsetting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, more than 850,000sqm of new green spaces will be created in the stadium precincts and more than 5,000 trees will be planted. On that note, the government is in fact planning to plant 1 million trees across the country, Other significant highlights of the 2020 FIFA World Cup will be energy-efficient LED lights, 16 floating hotels, a demountable stadium. Built from shipping containers, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will be completely dismantled following the tournament.
One of Doha’s most noteworthy efforts to deliver the first carbon-neutral World Cup is the USD467-million solar power plant, which will be built in partnership with French energy giant Total and Japan’s Marubeni. Expected to become operational in 2021, the solar plant will generate 800MW at its peak, providing around 10% of Qatar’s required energy. It will also use 2 million bifacial solar modules with trackers to reduce Qatar’s CO2 emissions by 26 million tons.
Although the initiatives laid out on this page just form the tip of the iceberg, they go on to show how a tiny country in the Middle East is leading the charge toward a more sustainable future.

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