Gasoline sells for 45 cents a gallon. There is little public transportation and no recycling. Residents drive between air-conditioned apartments and air-conditioned malls, which are lighted 24/7
Still, the region’s leaders know energy and money, having built their wealth on oil. They understand that oil is a finite resource, vulnerable to competition from new energy sources.
So even as President-elect Barack Obama talks about promoting green jobs as America’s route out of recession, gulf states, including the emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are making a concerted push to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy.
They are aggressively pouring billions of dollars made in the oil fields into new green technologies. They are establishing billion-dollar clean-technology investment funds. And they are putting millions of dollars behind research projects at universities from California to Boston to London, and setting up green research parks at home.
Meanwhile, we in Canada are pushing hard to completely ignore environmental concerns as we push to expand the incredibly dirty tar sands. I read an interesting New York Times article recently, summarizing the issues with this dirty oil. Of course, the CO2 emissions, and the incredibly nasty effects of mining, water pollution, etc. are well documented. One fact stuck in my head – The cost to replace one tire in one of the earth moving vehicles is $60,000. What a wasteful enterprise on such a grand scale, whose only purpose is to carry on business as usual when business as usual is going to result in catastrophic climate change in the not so distant future.