Category Archives: Energy

What You Need to Know about MENA Infrastructure and Climate Change

What You Need to Know about MENA Infrastructure and Climate Change

Worldwide temperatures in summer 2018 have highlighted the impact of climate change and stressed the urgency for global leaders and organizations to expedite and improve their carbon-reduction solutions. Sweden, for instance, is in the middle of its hottest-recorded summer in more than 100 years, while Japan is experiencing dangerously high temperatures up to 41 degrees Celsius. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been particularly hot, with temperatures soaring beyond 46 degrees Celsius in Saudi Arabia. While climate change has an obvious impact on health, safety, and availability of resources, its effects have and will continue to impact infrastructure as well.

 

General Concerns and Disruptions

Naturally, large urban centers are most at risk in regard to climate change and its adverse effects. Cities require more essential infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and power plants—all of which require occasional maintenance to remain in working order. However, heat waves and rising sea levels, among other byproducts of climate change, can make required repairs more frequent and place a strain on the economy. Additionally, those same problems can lead to a disruption in essential infrastructure services and create a trickle-down effect in which other services suffer. For instance, an electrical grid failure can negatively impact transportation services, public health, and water treatment.

 

dubai

 

Coastal Regions at Risk

While no region is immune to the effects of climate change, coastal areas are at particular risk due to rising sea levels, which could eventually displace millions of people and severely impact regional development. According to the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Department for the MENA Region, low-lying coastal areas such as Qatar, Kuwait, Libya, and the UAE, among others, are especially at risk considering that, by 2050, global models anticipate a 0.2-meter rise in sea levels. In total, rising sea levels may affect 43 port cities, 24 of which are in the Middle East, and eventually lead to an estimated $35 billion in losses of property and infrastructure.

 

Green Building Efforts

Construction comprises roughly 25 percent of global Greenhouse Gas emissions, so utilizing energy-efficient practices and resilient design in new projects is more crucial than ever. “There has been over $1.5 trillion of natural disaster impacts since 1980,” says Lisa Dickson, associate principal and director of resilience for the Americas at the Arup Group. “This is layered on top of a nearly $4 trillion gap in infrastructure funding needs by 2025 … We fundamentally have to change the way we approach infrastructure to be much more proactive in making it resilient, looking longer term.” In addition to following common Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, simple measures, such as using light colors and reflective materials, as well as adorning roofs with vegetation, can lessen the urban heat island effect and reduce carbon emissions.

 

The World Bank’s Support of Renewable Energy in MENA

Through its MENA Climate Action Plan, the World Bank is committing $1.5 billion in annual funding to countries in the region as they transition to low-carbon energy and establish sustainable cities. Jordan, Iran, and Egypt, for example, have all launched government-led initiatives to attract investors to their expanding renewable energy sectors, while the UAE has $163 billion worth of ongoing or planned green energy projects. Another big Middle East proponent of renewable energy is Saudi Arabia, which aims to raise its capacity to 9.5 gigawatts by 2023. Iraq, attributing its crumbling infrastructure to decades of conflict and rising temperatures, recently asked the United Nations for help in alleviating concerns caused by climate change.

 

photovoltaic cells

 

Beyond its financial support of sustainable infrastructure projects to MENA countries, the World Bank is hoping to enact positive change in a country-by-country basis through two other broad areas: knowledge strengthening and policy reform. The Bank is already conducting analytical work in International Development Association countries such as Yemen, Tunisia, and Djibouti, and is in the process of preparing a regional-based program for technical assistance relating to climate change adaptation and mitigation that will complement its Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program.

 

The GeoMEast Conference

In 2017, 600 professionals and representatives from 60 countries visited Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh resort as part of the first-ever GeoMEast conference, which was established by the Egyptian Housing and Building National Research Center (HBRC) and the Soil-Structure Interaction Group in Egypt (SSGIE) to discuss issues and solutions relating to sustainable civil infrastructure. “GeoMEast’s discussions aim to maximize the outcomes of national projects that are being carried out by Arab countries, especially Egypt,” notes Hany Farouk Shehata, general secretary of the GeoMEast organizing committee.

Organizers expect the second annual GeoMEast conference to take place near the end of November 2018. Discussions will primarily focus on sustainable initiatives relating to the New Capital and the Suez Canal Area Development Project, but they will also touch on highway, tunnel, and bridge construction in the Middle East. Other topics include Smarthomes, Middle East urbanization, energy geotechnics, and sediment management.

Spotlight on the Development of 5G in the Middle East

Spotlight on the Development of 5G in the Middle East

Smartphones and other mobile devices have become increasingly ubiquitous in today’s society. Thus, it is important that network providers adapt to the changing telecommunications landscape by offering technology that will improve download speeds and allow for greater connectivity between devices. In recent years, 3G and 4G networks have proven capable of connecting people who are… Continue Reading

Attractive Business Ideas You Need to Know About for Underdeveloped Countries

Attractive Business Ideas You Need to Know About for Underdeveloped Countries

Starting a business or expanding an enterprise into underdeveloped countries can be difficult. However, there are several benefits to doing so. Language and cultural barriers may present challenges, but you’re more likely to grab a larger share of the market in an underdeveloped country than you are in developed countries like the United States, United… Continue Reading

Five Middle East Telecom Developments You Need to Know About

Five Middle East Telecom Developments You Need to Know About

The telecom sector in the Middle East had been growing at a steady rate until 2017, when mobile penetration reached 120 percent and, as a result of a reduction in expatriate population and the economy losing momentum, mobile subscriber growth reached its lowest-ever rate. The market grew only 1 percent year over year in 2016… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

What You Need to Know about Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi is a burgeoning hub for infrastructure development. Recently, the city earned the TomTom International Award for World’s Best City in Developing Infrastructures Related to Traffic Management. Core infrastructure projects are ongoing throughout Abu Dhabi and have the potential to boost the city’s economy, but one large-scale resort… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro Project

What You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro Project

Despite being home to more than 6 million citizens, the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh lacks a major public transportation system. However, that won’t be the case by early 2019, as the Riyadh Metro Project is expected to be completed by then and, in turn, expected to significantly alleviate traffic congestion on the city’s streets.… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know About the Billion-Dollar CASA-1000 Project

What You Need to Know About the Billion-Dollar CASA-1000 Project

A sufficient source of electricity is a vital aspect of modern societies and instrumental in job creation and economic growth. Afghanistan and nearby countries have growing populations, but their potential for further development is inhibited by the shared problem of a lack of electricity. Because of this, many citizens are forced to endure scorching-hot summers… Continue Reading

This Is How Dubai Is Going Green

This Is How Dubai Is Going Green

Dubai is a city known for attaining big achievements at a rapid pace. While the city was primarily known as a small trading port and fishing hub prior to the 1960s, the Middle East’s bourgeoning oil and real estate industries have spurred incredible growth in what is now one of the world’s most technologically advanced,… Continue Reading

The Rise of 5G: 7 Facts You Need to Know

The Rise of 5G: 7 Facts You Need to Know

Since the development of the first analog cellular devices, now known as 1G, each consecutive generation of mobile wireless technology has provided consumers with faster data transmission speeds. The progression from 1G to 2G, 3G, and now 4G accompanied shifts to new encoding methods known as air interfaces, which have set each generation apart from… Continue Reading

4 Megaprojects in Saudi Arabia That Will Amaze You

4 Megaprojects in Saudi Arabia That Will Amaze You

There are projects, and then there are megaprojects. For countries looking to upgrade their infrastructure and improve quality of life for their citizens, megaprojects are often required. By definition, they are large-scale, complicated ventures with costs exceeding $1 billion, so they usually take years to develop and construct, not to mention finance. Megaprojects are typically… Continue Reading