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Sustainable Management of Climate Change: The Case of the Middle East and North Africa Region

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Climate change is one of the major environmental challenges facing the world. Particularly vulnerable are arid and low-laying coastal areas, conditions that prevail through most of the Middle East and North Africa [MENA]. This region is an economically diverse one, including both the oilrich economies in the Gulf and countries that are resource-scarce in relation to their population. However, with about 23 percent of MENA’s population living on less than $2 a day, it is imperative that the climate change management strategies adopted be cost-effective and emphasize economic, social and human development while addressing the concerns arising from anthropogenic climate change. Over the past decades several national and international mechanisms were developed in an attempt to reduce the emissions considered to be mainly responsible for climate change, and to assist in coping with the adverse effects that are beginning to occur as a result of climate change. Unfortunately, many of these approaches are presently associated with economic penalties that often adversely affect the socio-economic welfare of the populace, particularly in low-, and medium-income countries. In this regard, it is informative to note the experience recently gained by Trinidad and Tobago [T&T] in its attempt to reduce GHG emissions without affecting the competitiveness of the industrial and agricultural sectors. Using appropriate decision making tools and a policy environment based on a combination of regulations and incentives, the environmental challenges can be turned into a vehicle for sustainable development. This paper discusses the factors that need to be considered while developing a sustainable climate change management approach for the MENA region and develops some recommendations that may be essential for achieving the desired climate change mitigation/adaptation actions while minimizing social disruption.
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Journal of Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development (RESD)
June 2015 - ISSN 2356-8569
146
RESD © 2015
http://apc.aast.edu
SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE:
THE CASE OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
REGION
ADEL M. AL TAWEEL1*, V. ISMET UGURSAL1 AND DONNIE BOODLAL2
1 Dalhousie University, Halifax NS, CANADA
2 The University of Trinidad and Tobago, Point Lisas Campus, Trinidad and Tobago WI,
* Corresponding author: al.taweel@dal.ca
Abstract - Climate change is one of the major
environmental challenges facing the world.
Particularly vulnerable are arid and low-laying coastal
areas, conditions that prevail through most of the
Middle East and North Africa [MENA]. This region is
an economically diverse one, including both the oil-
rich economies in the Gulf and countries that are
resource-scarce in relation to their population.
However, with about 23 percent of MENA’s population
living on less than $2 a day, it is imperative that the
climate change management strategies adopted be
cost-effective and emphasize economic, social and
human development while addressing the concerns
arising from anthropogenic climate change.
Over the past decades several national and
international mechanisms were developed in an
attempt to reduce the emissions considered to be
mainly responsible for climate change, and to assist in
coping with the adverse effects that are beginning to
occur as a result of climate change. Unfortunately,
many of these approaches are presently associated
with economic penalties that often adversely affect the
socio-economic welfare of the populace, particularly in
low-, and medium-income countries. In this regard, it
is informative to note the experience recently gained
by Trinidad and Tobago [T&T] in its attempt to reduce
GHG emissions without affecting the competitiveness
of the industrial and agricultural sectors. Using
appropriate decision making tools and a policy
environment based on a combination of regulations
and incentives, the environmental challenges can be
turned into a vehicle for sustainable development.
This paper discusses the factors that need to be
considered while developing a sustainable climate
change management approach for the MENA region
and develops some recommendations that may be
essential for achieving the desired climate change
mitigation/adaptation actions while minimizing social
disruption.Greenhouse gas emissions
Keywords - Climate change, MENA region, Global
and regional energy production/consumption trends,
Energy and wealth, Need for adaptation, Managing
GHG emissions, Sustainable development, Building
local capacity.
Nomenclature
CEBC Clean Energy Business Council of the Middle
East and North Africa
CER Certified Emission Reductions
CNG Compressed natural gas
EU European Union
GCC Gulf cooperation council
GDP Gross national product
GNI Gross National Income
HDI Human development index
LED Low emission strategies
LNG Liquefied natural gas
MAPS Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios
PCGDPI Per Capita Gross GDP
PPP Purchasing power parity
tpa Tonne per annum
T&T Trinidad and Tobago
UN United Nations
I. INTRODUCTION
Energy is one of the key commodities required to
sustain human existence and advancement and is
one of the largest components of the world economy.
Consequently, global energy consumption has been
rapidly increasing over the past two centuries but the
pace of change has recently accelerated due to the
increase in the total world’s population and the rapid
improvement in the standard of living in a large
segment of the world’s populace. However, the
negative environmental aspects associated with the
increasing consumption of energy necessitate that
such trends be properly managed for the overall
benefits of humanity (Brundtland et al. 2010). Climate
change is a multi-faceted problem that requires the
numerous stakeholders to contribute knowledge,
skills and energy to plan for the impacts of a warmer
planet and to take action to mitigate rising GHG
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emissions. Such actions must however be based on
meeting the socio-economic challenges faced in any
particular country/region yet help in achieving the
overall objectives of protecting the global
environment.
Nowhere are the climate change and sustainability
issues more acute than in the MENA countries which
are likely to be severely affected by climate change.
The predicted rise in temperature and sea level may
affect coastal areas, while the current severe water
stress is likely to be exacerbated (Cherfane 2010,
Ghaddar 2010). Water supply sources in MENA
two-thirds of which originate outside the region are
being stretched to their limits threatening to lead to
national confrontations over this vital resource.
Adapting to climate change is not a new phenomenon
for the NEMA region. For thousands of years, the
people in this region have coped with the challenges
of climate variability by adapting their survival
strategies to changes in rainfall and temperature. But
over the next century global climatic variability is
predicted to increase, and NEMA countries may
experience unprecedented extremes in climate
(World Bank MENA Region, 2007).
This paper discusses the factors that need to be
considered while developing a sustainable climate
change management approach for the MENA region.
Some of the recommendations developed in this
paper may be essential for achieving the desired
climate change mitigation/adaptation actions while
minimizing social disruption particularly in low-income
countries.
II. THE IMPACT OF ENERGY PRODUCTION
AND UTILIZATION ON THE SOCIO-
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN MENA
COUNTRIES
The evolution of population, prosperity, and energy
consumption has been substantially different in
different parts of the world, resulting in large
disparities amongst nations and regions in terms of
wealth and the state of human development. This is
particularly evident in the Middle East and North
Africa, a region which includes both the energy-rich
economies in the Gulf as well as countries that are
amongst the poorest in the world. Figure 1 clearly
illustrates this phenomenon where the 22 MENA
countries considered in this investigation (Algeria,
Bahrain, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman,
Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan,
Syria, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen) were organized in
ascending order in accordance with their economic
wealth using the World Bank data for the annual per
capita gross domestic product (PCGDP). Although the
cost of living variation between the different countries
is already taken into consideration through the
purchasing power parity [PPP] factor, the value of the
per capita GDP was found to vary between these
countries by a factor of up to about 150, thus creating
a very difficult situation in which it is virtually
impossible to develop a singular strategy that meets
the needs of the whole region. Conversely, the
presence of countries depicting a wide spectrum of
developmental stages can create an opportunity for
complementary/synergistic action that can benefit the
population of both the wealthy and poor countries.
Appropriate strategies and frameworks are however
needed in order to achieve such goals.
The discrepancy between the various countries in the
MENA region becomes less sever when one utilizes
more comprehensive indicators of the socio-economic
development stage for any particular country. The
Human Development Index [HDI] used in Figure 2 is a
composite indicator introduced by the UN in 1990 and
provides a better measure of the socio-economic state
of development of the populace by combining three
basic dimensions: life expectancy, educational
attainment (through literacy index and registration
combined index) and economic performance (through
per capita PPP GNI in international dollars) (UNDP,
2010). The use of this more appropriate indicator
reduced the inter-country discrepancy within the
MENA region to about 3-fold.
Fig .1. Intra-region variation of the Per capita GDP
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(Source of data: World Bank Databank, PPP 2011)
However, it is worthwhile to note that whereas only
three countries in the region have achieved a high
stage of human development (HDI 0.8), five
countries can be considered as still being in a low
stage of human development (HDI < 0.5), with the
remaining 14 countries being in the moderate stage
of human development (0.5 ≤ HDI < 0.8).
Fig .2. Regional Variation in the Human Development
Index (2011) The scale used for labeling the countries in
Fig. 2 resulted in half of the countries being omitted in the
formatted version
A significant part of the GDP generated by
prosperous MENA countries can be attributed to the
production and utilization of non-renewable energy
resources (energy-related revenues can be as high
as 55% of the GDP for countries that are primarily oil
exporters). Two-thirds of the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are thus
located in the MENA region, which has 57% of the
world’s proven conventional oil reserves and 41% of
proven conventional natural gas resources. These
reserves generated an estimated US$ 785 billion in
revenues in 2011 (Fattouh and El-Katiri, 2012) and
sovereign investment funds are being increasingly
considered as means for ensuring the prosperity of
future generations in countries presently endowed
with large non-renewable natural resources.
The importance to the energy sector in determining
the state of prosperity in MENA countries becomes
very clear when one considers the per capita level of
GHG emissions and its variation amongst the
different countries of the region (Figure 3). With the
exception of Israel, the most prosperous MENA
countries are those with abundant energy resources
and energy-based industries (e.g. the processing of
petroleum and natural gas as well as
petrochemicals).However, the activities associated
with the extraction, processing and export of the oil
and gas resources, and the rapidly-expanding
energy-based industrial sector, are large GHG
emitters. Continued development of these energy
resources along historic lines is therefore expected to
result in exasperating the level of GHG emissions
unless certain measures are taken to reduce the
overall environmental impact of such development.
On the other hand, any viable GHG emission
reduction strategy will have to consider the fact that
the near-term demand for fossil fuels is predicted to
increase as a result of the increase in the world’s
population, and the increased per capita demand
particularly in the rapidly expanding economies such
as China, India, and Indonesia. Policies and
procedures aimed at implementing cleaner energy
extraction/production/utilization are therefore urgently
needed, particularly in the wealthy energy-rich
countries. Such measures can strongly reduce the
environmental impacts of present and future
development of energy resources in the region.
Fig .3. Regional variation in GHG emissions (Source of
data: World Bank Databank)
Previous studies confirmed the existence of strong
correlation between the wealth of the citizens of a
country and their energy consumption pattern
(Sütterlin 2012, Floyd 2012, Estiri et al. 2013), a
situation that applies to all countries regardless of
their state of human development. Prosperous and
developed countries thus have a high level of energy
consumption that is used for the production of goods
and services, to support the transport and
telecommunications sectors, and to achieve a high
level of comfort for the citizens. A large part of their
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
Human Development Index 2010
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energy demand is presently supplied (directly and
indirectly) by fossil fuels whereas a significant part of
the energy demand in low-income countries is
supplied by traditional biomass (wood and charcoal).
Unfortunately, The increasing use of biomass for
energy purposes in middle and low-income MENA
countries is one of the major forces driving the
desertification process and is driven by the local
availability of relatively inexpensive biomass in a
world where the price of fossil fuels is relatively high.
As shown in Figure 3, the same qualitative
relationship exists in the MENA region. The average
fossil fuel energy consumption in the major oil and
gas producers (Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, and UAE) are more than 300-fold higher than
that in the low-income countries in the region.
Unfortunately, these emission levels are also many-
fold higher than the present day world-average
emission levels (4.6 tpa CO2 Equivalent) as well as
the emission levels in developed countries that are
strongly dependent on the exploitation of natural
resources (Canada = 15.2 tpa CO2 equivalent;
Australia = 18.2 tpa CO2 equivalent). Amongst the
factors contributing to this state of affairs are: the
heavy dependence of affluent MENA countries on
energy-intensive industries, the export of raw
materials with limited local value-added (e.g. crude oil
and LNG), and the limited contribution of the
agricultural and service sectors to the overall
prosperity of the citizens. Concerted efforts have
been ongoing to change this situation, but is
recommended that special attention be given to the
use of low-emission-development routes (e.g. energy
efficiency and waste minimization) in order to ensure
that the increase in the level of local value added
does not result in further exasperating the
environmental problems.
The heavy dependence of a country’s prosperity and
the level of energy resource utilization is reflected in
the essentially linear relationship between the per
capita GDP and the level of GHG emissions in MENA
countries (Figure 4). This is mainly caused by the
heavy dependence of affluent MENA countries on
energy-intensive industries, the export of raw
materials with limited value-added processing, and
the limited contribution of the agricultural and service
sectors to the welfare of the citizens.
III. ENERGY CONSUMPTION, POWER
GENERATION AND THE STANDARD OF
LIVING
Accepting that most countries do not want to suffer a
reduction in their prosperity level while attempting to
address the climate change challenge, the question
becomes how the level of
Fig .4. The relationship between PCGDP and the GHG
emissions level (Source of data: World Bank Databank,
MENA region)
GHG emissions can be reduced while maintaining the
prosperity at its present level or even higher. An
indication the efficiency by which energy is utilized to
generate wealth can be obtained by calculating the
amount of GHG emissions associated with every $
1,000 PPP GDP produced. This indicator which is
frequently used for benchmarking purposes is based
on the fact that most of the world’s large consumers of
energy still rely heavily on fossil fuel for power
generation. The large intra-regional variation in the
energy use per unit GDP is clearly evident from the
results depicted in Figure 5.
An in-depth investigation of the factors contributing to
this phenomenon (e.g. internal strife, the contribution
of the service sector, the emphasis on high-value
added production, the role of the agricultural sector,
the role of hydro power) is needed to develop better
understanding of the factors hindering the accelerated
development of this region as a whole, and to identify
novel means by which the prosperity of the region can
be enhanced. It is however noteworthy that the
prosperous MENA countries are about 3-7 fold less
efficient in converting their energy resources into
national wealth than it is the case in the USA and EU
(Figure 6). Thus, whereas the generation of a $1,000
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of GDP in the former group is associated with the
emission of 700-1000 kg of CO2 equ., the same is
achieved while emitting 100-180 kg of CO2 equ. in
more developed societies. This suggests that there is
a substantial potential for improving the efficiency by
which energy resources are converted into revenue-
generating economic activities in the prosperous,
hydrocarbon-rich MENA countries. On the other hand,
the high energy utilization efficiencies exhibited by the
poorest three MENA countries are not indicative of
high energy utilization efficiencies but are typical of
their developmental stage (HDI < 0.5) where energy
(fossil fuels in particular) plays a less significant role in
determining the GDP. The very low energy utilization
efficiency observed in the case of Iraq in 2009 could
most probably be attributed to the internal strife in the
country and its negative impact on the GDP. In that
regard, it is important to note that although China has
been rapidly increasing its power generation capacity
to cope with the escalating demand, it has been able
to achieve a remarkable increase in the energy use
efficiency of energy utilization over the past 30 years.
This is largely due to the use of better manufacturing
technologies and the gradual shift towards the
production of high-value added products and services.
Fig .5. Regional variation in energy utilization efficiency
Fig .6. Evolution of energy use per unit of GDP (Source of
data: World Bank Databank)
IV. ENERGY CONSUMPTION, POWER
GENERATION AND THE STANDARD OF
LIVING
In order to develop sustainable MENA-focused
strategies for coping with the problem of climate
change it is important that, in a fashion similar to other
rapidly-developing regions of the world, the MENA
region assumes its responsibility with respect to
reducing its GHG emissions while undertaking
unquestionably necessary adaptation projects
(Verner, 2012). In the meantime, it should also
attempt to achieve two important socioeconomic
objectives:
Avoid socially disruptive situations by reducing the
large discrepancy in prosperity levels of the
citizens within the MENA region.
Address the need for securing long-term
prosperity for the citizens of the countries whose
present prosperity levels depend on exhaustible
non-renewable energy resources.
The question is how these apparently contradictory
demands can concurrently be met particularly by
governments that have limited funds and need to
spend them in a fashion that addresses urgently
needed socio-economic challenges while trying to
reduce emissions?. Considering the fact that about
23% of the population in MENA lives below the
poverty level of less than $2 a day, a concerted effort
aimed at improving the standard of living in the region
as a whole is desperately needed if social turmoil is to
be minimized. It is however imperative that the
strategies adopted emphasize economic, social and
human development objectives while addressing the
concerns arising from climate change. However, the
financial and human resources needed for such an
effort can be limiting factors considering the multi-
faceted needs in the region in a period of budgetary
constraints throughout much of the world.
In a recent study based on data from 112 countries
(Ugursal, 2013), it was noted that the relationship
between the HDI and energy consumption depends
very much on the country’s developmental stage
(Figure 7). Thus, for example, a substantial increase
in the per capita energy consumption is needed
before any significant improvement can be noted in
the human development level can be noted for
countries with HDI < 0.5. On the other hand,
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significant reductions in the energy consumption
levels can be achieved without substantial reduction in
the standard of living in countries with HDI ≥ 0.8;
while, small increases in energy consumption result in
substantial increases in the HDI of countries within the
moderate HDI range (0.5-0.8).
Fig .7. Relationship between a country’s HDI and its per
capita energy consumption rate (Ugursal, 2013).
It is therefore projected that substantial investment in
power generation and utilization will be needed in
most of the 19 countries having HDI less than 0.8.
Such a massive undertaking will adversely affect
climate change with the impact being mitigated if low
emission development [LED] strategies are adopted
in the new projects and measures for improving the
efficiency of existing operations are adopted (Clapp
et al., 2010). Considering the fact that the population
of the region is in excess of 330 million with an
average per-capita GHG emission of 5.85 tpa CO2
equivalent per year, the full impact of unplanned
development is equivalent to adding a GHG emitter
that is equivalent to 2/3 that of the USA (until
recently, the world’s largest emitter).
Innovative means for the planning, financing,
execution, and managing of such a major undertaking
are therefore needed in order to avoid the adverse
impact of combined social, economic, and
environmental upheavals. The concept of
“Sustainable Development” with its emphasis on
balancing the needs of the society with those of the
environment in an economically viable fashion
represents one of the most promising avenues for
achieving the aforementioned balanced objectives.
However, the challenge of managing this global
problem in a sustainable fashion is quite daunting
particularly considering the conflicting interests of the
various regions and countries, particularly those at
radically different stages of development.
The increase in GHG emissions associated with the
accelerated development of low-, and medium-
income MENA countries can be partially
compensated by improving the environmental
efficiency of the enormous oil and gas sector
operating in various MENA countries. Many such
countries (e.g. Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya,
Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE) have very
large oil and gas operations, a situation that offers the
opportunity for achieving significant reductions in
GHG emissions at little, or even negative, costs. A
review of the GHG mitigation efforts in most of the
MENA countries was recently given by Abdel Gelil
(2009). Once identified, the private sector may be
interested in profitable emission reduction schemes
but some additional incentives may be needed for
high-risk border line cases. Typical examples are:
Reducing the wasteful release of undesired
energy by-products (e.g. flares).
Replacing high-carbon fuels with low-cost low-
emission alternatives.
Enhancing the efficiency of power generation
plants and power transmission systems,
Enhancing the efficiency of energy utilization in
large industrial operations, and
Identifying opportunities for reusing some of the
CO2 captured in the many petrochemical plants
present in the region for enhancing oil recovery in
nearby fields.
It is hard to overemphasize the importance of energy
efficiency as an economically-viable tool for mitigating
GHG emissions. The experience in many European
countries, combined with the recent financial crunch,
resulted in the recent adoption by the EU of “Directive
2012/27/EU” on energy efficiency. This Directive
establishes a common framework of the promotion of
energy efficiency within the EU in order to ensure the
achievement of its 2020 target on energy efficiency,
and to pave the way for further energy efficiency
improvements beyond that date. It also lays down
rules designed to remove barriers in the energy
market and overcome market failures that impede
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efficiency in the supply and use of energy, and
provides for the establishment of indicative national
energy efficiency targets for 2020 Marginal MENA
cases may be eligible for financial support through
various international programs, such as the Clean
Development Mechanism [CDM] program and the
Global Environment Facility fund. It is however
imperative that such border-line project meet the
sustainability criteria and urgently addresses the
socio-economic needs of the population.
The potential for significantly reducing GHG
emissions at little or no cost is not a situation that is
unique to MENA and was identified to exist in several
countries. For example, it is estimated that a
significant reduction in Australian GHG emissions can
be achieved (30% below 1999 levels by 2020) can be
achieved without major technological breakthroughs
or lifestyle changes. These reductions can be
achieved by using existing approaches and by
deploying mature or rapidly developing technologies
to improve the carbon efficiency of the Australian
economy (Gomer and Lewis, 2008) It is, however,
essential to redress the imbalance presently existing
in the various methodologies used to estimate GHG
emissions. For example, equitable mechanisms may
have to be developed by which the GHG emissions
associated with the production, export, and transport
of natural gas (10-12% of the carbon content in the
case of LNG) can be split between the exporting
counties and those which use it to replace coal in
power generating plants.
V. AN EXAMPLE OF A SUSTAINABLE
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION EFFORT
Over the past few years, several national and
international mechanisms were developed in an
attempt to reduce GHG emissions and to assist in
coping with the adverse effects that are beginning to
occur as a result of climate change. Unfortunately,
many of these approaches are presently associated
with economic penalties that often adversely affect
the socio-economic welfare of the populace
particularly in low-, and medium-income countries. In
this regard, it is informative to note the experience
recently gained by Trinidad and Tobago [T&T] in its
attempt to reduce GHG emissions without affecting
the competitiveness of its industrial and agricultural
sectors.
Although the GHG emissions of Trinidad and Tobago
are not very large when compared to larger countries
(estimated at 53 M tonne CO2 Equivalent per year in
), it is one of the world’s largest GHG emitters per
capita (40 tpa CO2 Equivalent in 2009). Initial
attempts were made to meet its international
obligations, focused on policies/measures similar to
those used in developed economies (energy efficient
cars, replacing incandescent bulbs etc.). However, a
recent inventory of the sources of GHG emissions
clearly showed the inability of such simple measures
to achieve substantial reductions in GHG emissions
(Figure 8), since more than 80% of the GHG
emissions are generated by industrial activities.
Fig .8. Sources of GHG emissions in T&T, 2010 (adapted
from Boodlal and Al Taweel, 2013)
Conventional environmental management concepts
were applied to identify means by which GHG
emissions can be reduced without significantly
affecting the value of the welfare of the country
(Figure 9). Based on the results of an inventory of
GHG emissions in T&T, and the costs associated
with each GHG reduction option, an indigenous
action plan was proposed (Boodlal and Al Taweel,
2013) which includes identification of the optimal
carbon reduction opportunities in the country (Figure
10).
Fig . 9. Identifying the most sustainable GHG reduction
strategies
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Fig . 10. Cost associated with the various options for
reducing GHG emissions in T&T (adapted from Boodlal and
Al Taweel, 2013)
Very conservative cost estimates were used in this
study since its primary purpose is to serve as a policy
development tool rather than for profitability analysis;
yet several negative-cost opportunities were identified
(Figure 10). This suggests that the implementation of
such measures will be beneficial for the country’s
economy while, simultaneously, reducing its GHG
emissions. A policy environment based on a
combination of regulations and incentives was also
recommended to attract investment to cost-effective
emission reduction measures. In this way,
environmental challenges can be turned into
economic opportunities and a vehicle for sustainable
development. To achieve this goal it is, however,
necessary to use appropriate decision-making tools
and adopt innovative site-specific solutions that take
into consideration the socio-economic welfare of the
disadvantaged segment of the population.
The most financially attractive option for reducing
GHG emission in T&T is the replacement of liquid
fuels (diesel and gasoline) by compressed or
liquefied natural gas. For the past several decades,
diesel and gasoline have been heavily subsidized in
T&T in order to facilitate the transport of individuals
and goods, particularly for the low-income citizens.
The price of liquid fuels has been fixed for many
years at the fixed prices of: TT$ 1.50/liter of diesel,
TT$ 2.60/liter of regular gasoline, and TT$ 4.20/liter
of premium gasoline (6.5 TT$ = 1 US$). In addition to
encouraging energy-wasteful behaviour, the annual
subsidy for these fuels was about US$ 500 per
person with large quantities of the subsidized diesel
fuel being illegally exported. Significant savings can
therefore be achieved by converting cars and trucks
so that they can use natural gas instead of the afore-
mentioned liquid fuels. In addition to the financial
benefits accrued by such conversions, the air quality
is expected to improve as a result of using the clean-
burning fuel and the GHG emissions are lower than
those achieved when using the conventional heavier
fuels.
The need for promoting such a conversion has been
recognized many years before and both CNG and
LNG are easily available as a by-product of the
existing LNG production facility (used to export 58%
of all the natural gas produced in T&T). However, the
progress achieved on that front has been slow
because of the lack of a concerted effort to promote
such conversion and the limited number of re-fueling
stations equipped to handle CNG.
Following the drop in the price of natural gas and its
impact on the country’s royalties, this issue is being
more seriously addressed. The price of premium
gasoline was recently raised to TT$ 5.75 and a plan
for increasing the number of stations equipped to
handle CNG is being implemented. A growing
number of public transport buses are being converted
to CNG while the Environmental Management
Authority has launched a programme to convert its
vehicle fleet to CNG.
This approach is not a novel one since natural gas is
a commonly used alternative fuel used by trucks and
transit bus fleet operators interested in reducing the
cost and environmental impact of their operations.
Many factory-built natural gas vehicles are available,
which incorporate engine technologies that have
been designed specifically for natural gas with power,
torque, and fuel efficiency similar to diesel engines.
Warranty coverage is also comparable to what is
available on diesel engines.
Natural gas presently powers more than 15 million
vehicles around the world and the number of natural
gas fueled vehicles has been increasing by more
than 15% a year over the past decade (NGV Global,
2012). There are more than 20,000 refueling stations
in use globally, with the majority of these stations
dispensing CNG, although LNG projects have been
announced in several countries for both on-road truck
and marine use. The trend of using CNG/LNG to
power vehicles is expected to grow as the price
differential between natural gas and liquid fuels
increases as a result of the abundant availability of
natural gas in the market place (Figure 11).
The development of a cost-effective natural-gas
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based alternate to LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gases
that are extensively used in the region for cooking
and heating purposes) could similarly benefit NEMA
countries that are heavily dependent on the use of
this type of fuel for domestic purposes.
Fig . 11. Price ratio of crude oil to natural gas (U.S. Energy
Information Administration)
VI. BALANCING CLIMATE CHANGE
ABATEMENT MEASURES AGAINST
DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS
Global climate change is projected to result in a set of
diverse and regionally-specific impacts on natural
ecosystems and human societies. A growing
literature suggests that while mitigation strategies are
necessary, those alone are unlikely to be sufficient to
cope with these changes. Therefore, pursuing a
complementary strategy of enabling countries to
adapt to global change and negate many of the
expected adverse impacts is equally, if not more,
urgent (Burton et al., 2002; Verner, 2012). However,
with about 23% of MENA’s population living on less
than $2 a day, it is imperative that the climate change
management strategies adopted be cost-effective
and emphasize economic, social and human
development, while addressing the environmental
concerns arising from anthropogenic climate change.
Poverty alleviation is often linked to economic
development resulting in job creation, increased
energy production and consumption, GDP growth,
energy security, and reducing all of inequality, which
usually translates into increased emissions levels.
Policy makers in low-income countries are therefore
faced with the dilemma of having to allocate limited
resources in an attempt to alleviate poverty while, at
the same time, try to slow down GHG emissions.
The need for integrating the environment in
development planning has been strongly promoted
for many years (Tolba M. K., 2008) and it may be
now necessary to emphasize the need for integrating
development into environmental planning particularly
for low- and middle-income countries Over the past
few years, several tools have been developed to
facilitate rational decision making and achieving a
balance between development needs and protecting
the environment. (e.g. Low-Emission Development
Strategies [LEDS], and Mitigation Action Plans and
Scenarios [MAPS]). A detailed discussion of these
tools is beyond the scope of this investigation but a
quick introduction to their recent application to
developing countries was given by Clapp et al. (2010)
and Boyd (2013).
Though no formally agreed definition exists, LEDS
are generally used to describe forward-looking
national economic development plans and strategies
that encompass low-emission and/or climate-resilient
economic growth. LEDS can serve multiple purposes
but are primarily intended to help advance national
climate change and development policy in a more co-
ordinated, coherent and strategic manner. By
providing integrated economic development and
climate change planning, an LEDS can provide value-
added to the myriad of existing climate change and
development related strategies and reports that
already exist. Because of its benefits, the
Copenhagen Accord recognised that a LEDS is
indispensable to sustainable development.
VII. FINANCING SUSTAINABLE INTEGRATED
DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS WITH
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION/
ADAPTATION COMPONENTS
Achieving sustainable development goals that
integrate climate change adaptation/mitigation
measures within a holistic framework requires that
announced commitments be translated into
strategies, policies and actions. The scale of such
anticipated efforts in the MENA region requires
massive multi-billion dollar financing that needs to be
secured from internal and external sources. The
financial aspects of climate change issues in the
MENA region has recently received much attention
from a large number of investigators (Abaza, 2008;
Babiker and M. Fehaid, 2011; Fattouh and El-Katiri,
2012; Nakhooda et al., 2012; Saidi, 2012) whose
findings provide valuable insight into the real state of
affairs. A high level of investment in climate change
related projects by resource-rich MENA countries is
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already underway, largely supported with domestic
and private sector financing. Many large-scale wind
and solar energy projects are also investing in for
both domestic use and export, while significant
investments are being planned in energy efficiency
and carbon reduction projects. However, the
financing of similar projects in resource-limited MENA
countries faces many challenges.
Climate change funding by international agencies has
been rather limited in the MENA region. Although
about US$ 1 Billion in finance has been dedicated
since 2004, less than US$ 200 million was approved
as grants in support of a large number of relatively
small-scale projects, which are concentrated in 12
MENA countries (Nakhooda et al., 2012). Similarly,
the region’s share of the CDM funding is less than
2% of the global CER market in spite of the multitude
of oil, gas, and petrochemical operations that are
spread throughout the region and usually offer good
opportunities for CDM support.
To further complicate matters, prices for CERs
collapsed from about US$20 a tonne in 2008 to less
than US$ 1 by the end of 2012. This is mainly driven
by the Eurozone debt crisis reducing the industrial
activity and the over-allocation of emission
allowances under the European Union Emissions
Trading Scheme” . Furthermore, some of the projects
contemplated for support can hardly be considered
as being “sustainable” when, for example, the citizens
of a developing country end up supporting the
development of a promising technology by
substantially subsidizing the cost of the power
generated over the project’s life span (typically 20-30
years in this case).
On the other hand, there exists excellent opportunity
for drawing upon the substantial financial resources
that are generated within the MENA region itself.
These can be utilized to accelerate the development
of equitable, holistic, and sustainable climate change
projects in the region, provided that a proper
framework is developed that secures the equity, long-
term viability, and security of such financing efforts. A
similar example is presently being considered for the
case of the five major emerging national economies
of: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
[BRICS], where the need for financial cooperation in
the five-nation bloc has led to a recent agreement to
establish a BRICS development bank, which could
properly utilize the huge savings pool of the bloc
countries.
In this regard, it is worthwhile to note that the high oil
and gas prices have generated an extraordinary level
of international assets and liquidity in the
hydrocarbon exporting countries of the MENA region,
with gross foreign assets forecast to reach some
USD 2.3 trillion by end-2012 (Saidi, 2012).
Consequently, governments and corporations in such
countries have traditionally been cash rich and not
reliant on market financing. However, the global
financial crisis, the contagion effects of the
Eurozone's continuing crisis and retrenchment of EU
banks, along with growing financial sophistication of
both the public sector and private businesses in the
GCC countries, changed their financial strategy,
particularly since the GCC countries are keen to lead
in innovative finance as they develop financial
centers and diversify their economies (Saidi, 2012).
In this context, Sukuk (Tradable financial instruments
that comply with the Islamic law and its investment
principles, which prohibit the charging of and/or
paying interest) may be a suitable investment
instrument for the MENA region, as it would meet the
investment requirements of investors from the GCC,
Asia and other Shariah-compliant global institutional
investors. Several organizations, such as the Green
Sukuk Working Group, the Clean Energy Business
Council of the MENA Region and the Gulf Bond and
Sukuk Association, were formed to address this need
(Climatebonds, 2015).
In light of the above, the Clean Energy Business
Council of the Middle East and North Africa (CEBC),
the Climate Bonds Initiative and the Gulf Bond and
Sukuk Association have launched a Green Sukuk
Working Group. The group aims to channel market
expertise to develop best practices and promote the
issuance of sukuk for climate change solutions
investments, such as renewable energy and clean
tech projects (Saidi, 2012). Green Sukuk are Shariah
securities and investments that use criteria for climate
solutions developed by the International Climate
Bond Standards scheme. The CEBC plans to help
investors more easily identify Shariah-compliant
opportunities while assisting in providing the
investment capital for clean energy and other climate-
friendly projects in the region.
Another financing option to be considered is based
on the development of a framework by which MENA
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countries with high per capita GHG emissions can
gain credit in exchange for financing climate change
mitigation/adaptation projects within low- and
intermediate-income countries in the region.
VIII. BUILDING THE CAPACITY TO MANAGE
CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT
CHALLENGES IN MENA
The development of sustainable solutions to the
multitude of climate change issues facing the MENA
region requires in-depth knowledge of site-specific
conditions prevalent in the various countries and the
ability to identify/develop appropriate solutions that
can meet the socio-economic needs of the local
population. Much of the expertise needed is already
available in the region but is scattered amongst many
countries, ministries, universities and NGOs. It is
therefore necessary to develop a regional network of
institutions that have the knowledge and ability to
accomplish such goals, and equip it with a project
management team that can coordinate the efforts of
the various individuals. This network should
encourage flexibility in problem-solving, the
development of cost-effective innovative approaches,
and emphasize the importance of addressing the
needs of the various stakeholders and the balance of
power among the various interest groups.
Such a network can also draw upon the world-wide
pool of expertise, but the translation of the experience
of others into a MENA-specific plan of action could
best be handled on the local level where the active
participation by the various stakeholders (particularly
the most vulnerable sectors of the population) is a
necessary condition for the success of any
sustainable development program.
IX. CONCLUSION
Based on the analysis presented in this investigation
it can be concluded that:
Socioeconomic analysis of the MENA countries
and their GHG emissions shows that they can be
split into three categories: the affluent resource-
rich countries, the middle-income countries, and
a few low-income countries. The former group of
countries has the world’s highest level of per
capita GHG emissions while the latter has almost
negligible emissions. Although the variation in
per capita GDP amongst these countries is very
high, this does not reflect in a similar disparity of
human development level.
Massive investments are needed to
accelerate the pace of economic
development in lower-and middle income
countries in order to improve the standard of
living and minimize social disruption. Such
efforts will be accompanied by an increase in
the emission levels that can be minimized by
adopting low emission development
strategies and by implementing cost effective
means for reducing the emissions associated
with the development of the oil/natural
gas/petrochemical sectors.
With about 23% of MENA’s population living on
less than $2 a day, it is imperative that the
climate change management strategies adopted
be cost-effective and emphasize economic, social
and human development while addressing the
concerns arising from anthropogenic climate
change. This will avoid duplicating efforts,
minimize the capital requirements, and facilitate
the acceptance of such measures by the
population at large.
The carbon reduction experience of T&T clearly
identified several negative-cost opportunities for
reducing carbon emissions. The savings accrued
by implementing such measures can be used for
adaptation or economic development purposes.
In this fashion, environmental challenges can be
turned into economic opportunities and a vehicle
for sustainable development.
Converting cars and trucks so that they can use
natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel reduces
the GHG emissions and improves the air quality
in urban centres. Significant financial benefits can
also be accrued by such conversions due to the
large difference in the cost per unit energy of the
two fuels and the elimination of the subsidies
needed to make transportation more affordable. It
is, however, essential that such conversion plans
be carefully implemented in a fashion that
renders it the natural choice of the consumer
rather than the socially disruptive price hikes.
The extent of financial support received from
international agencies by MENA countries for
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mitigation/adaptation measures is relatively low.
This is most probably driven by the financial
difficulties through which some of the world’s
leading economies are presently going through, a
situation, which is not predicted to change in the
near future. The region should therefore rely
primarily on internally-generated financing driven
by intelligent self-motivated interests.
There apparently is a growing interest in
developing Shariah-compliant financing
istruments that can be used for climate change
solutions investments. This is driven by the high
liquidity levels prevalent in the public and private
sectors in many resources-rich MENA countries
and the desire of the GCC countries to diversify
their economies and develop financial centers
that lead in innovative finance. This approach is
similar to that recently adopted the recent
agreement by the BRICS countries to establish
their own development bank, which could utilize
their huge savings pool to enhance their
collective interests.
An alternate financing scheme may be achieved
by having large GHG emitters gain credit for
financing climate change mitigation/adaptation
projects within low- and intermediate-income
countries in the region.
Although no single formula can apply to a collection
of countries as diverse as those in the NEMA region,
it is recommended that the various MENA countries
undertake the initial four steps needed to create a
Low-Emission Development strategy [LEDS] which
entail:
Development of vision/goal: An over-arching
vision or goal is needed to help guide in the
development of long-term policy decisions related
to economic development and climate change
priorities.
Assessment of current situation: A clear
understanding of major GHG emitting sectors and
the socio-economic indicators is fundamental to
determining the path forward.
Emission projections, mitigation potential and
costs: Planned pathways for business-as- usual
emissions can help provide a sense of the
national emission trajectory, while mitigation
potential and costs associated with the various
emission reduction options are needed as a first
step towards identifying promising mitigation
actions.
Vulnerability assessment: Indications of how
a country or region may be impacted by
climate change can help engage
stakeholders, including the general public,
and can help identify adaptation needs and
the range of possible cost-effective
adaptation outcomes.
Much of this information is already available in the
many MENA-related studies conducted by several
local and international agencies. What is needed is to
collect and update the information and ensure its
correctness, fill in any gaps, and analyse the findings
in a fashion that allows for the identification of cost-
effective projects that emphasize economic, social
and human development while addressing the
environmental concerns arising from anthropogenic
climate change.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The financial support of the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada is gratefully
acknowledged. The stimulating intellectual input and
contribution of all the members of the Trinidad and
Tobago Carbon Reduction Strategy Task Force is
greatly appreciated.
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... As of 2013, records showed that the petrochemical industries are responsible for 56% of T&T's CO2 emissions, with power generation and transportation contributing 27% and 9% respectively (see Figure 1) The Manufacturing activities account for 5% of total carbon emissions. Thus, the petrochemical industry is an obvious target for emissions reduction initiatives [13] & [14]. Without major technological changes, the majority of the CO2 emissions are unavoidable during the production processes of these subsectors e.g. ...
... Policymakers are therefore guided that for CO2-EOR projects in T&T, sources from ammonia production should be targeted first. Through this sources, as much as 8MT/year of CO2 is available and can be used with relatively lower separation cost [14]. ...
... Therefore, it is of vital importance that the climate change strategies proposed should be cost-effective and focus on economic and social development, as well as, manage threats emerging from anthropogenic climate change, (A. Taweel, V. Ugursal and D. Boodlal, 2015). Considering the study conducted by the World Bank, Turbulent Waters, that states how investments in water can be favorable to stability by considering "short-term livelihood needs and long-term sustainability challenges," Hence, it appears that the sustainable development goals concept or climate change mitigation and adaptation, in particular, will struggle to get near of the region's priority list on the social level. ...
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Regional Initiatives to Assess the impact of Climate Change on Water Resources, Paper presented at the Arab Water Forum
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Cherfane C.C., 2010, Regional Initiatives to Assess the impact of Climate Change on Water Resources, Paper presented at the Arab Water Forum.
Energy Subsidies in the Arab World
  • B Fattouh
  • L El-Katiri
Fattouh, B. and L. El-Katiri, 2012. Energy Subsidies in the Arab World. Arab Human Development Report, Research Paper Series. United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Arab States.
GHG Emissions: Mitigation Efforts in the Arab Countries
  • Abdel Gelil
Abdel Gelil I., 2009. GHG Emissions: Mitigation Efforts in the Arab Countries, in Arab Environment: Climate Change, M. K. Tolba and N. W. Saab Edit., Report of The Arab Forum For Environment And Development, 2008.
Sustainable Reduction of GHG Emissions: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Submitted for publication in
  • D Boodlal
Boodlal, D. and A. M. Al Taweel. 2015. Sustainable Reduction of GHG Emissions: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Submitted for publication in "Process Safety and Environmental Protection". Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK).