Sunday’s Green News Snippets

green-news-middle-east Get your weekly dose of green news snippets from the region

It’s been another great week of green news coming from the Middle East. We hope you managed to catch our interview with Green Hajj expert Dr Husna Ahmed, our coverage of the quake-proof straw houses  as well as Tafline’s time at the Desertec conference in Cairo.  And we have more bite-size news to keep you busy this quiet Sunday too. Read on for green courses on climate change, mega-rail projects and record high fines for an oil spill in Israeli waters.

Also, don’t forget to nominate your green hero from the Middle East/North Africa region and they could win a cash prize!

Jordan Launches Masters Course On Climate Change
The University of Jordan has been granted 1 million Euros from the European Union to help establish a master’s programme on environmental engineering and climate change.  Jordan is the only Arab country to receive EU support to set up such a course, which is designed to cater to a growing interest in climate change
: Petra News

Saudi Expands Its Rail Network
The Haramain High Speed Rail Project (or Mekkah Metro as it’s known) goes into phase two and Saudi has awarded the 6.7billion Euros contract to Spain. According to Bloomberg, Saudi is laying 2,400 miles of rail lines which is almost enough to stretch across the continental US.  Alstom, the French company behind the Jerusalem Light Rail project, was targeted by Palestinian BDS campaigners and lost its bid.
: Haveeru online

Haifa Courts Imposes Record Fine On Oil Spill Company
A court in Haifa has asked the Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company to pay NIS 1.01 million after one its ships spilt oil in the Haifa seaport area in December 2010. This is the largest fine ever imposed on a ship in Israeli waters. Rani Amir, head of the ministry’s marine and coastal division told the Jerusalem Post that an estimated 30-40 tonnes of oil were spilt.
: Jerusalem Post

Egypt’s Siwa Oasis Facing Water Problems
The Nubian Aquifer which supports Egypt’s eco-tourism destination Siwa Oasis is under threat due to commercial water plants and a growing agricultural sector.  Speaking to Bikya Masr, Heba Abdella of Environmental Quality International remarked that the government is failing to enforce laws designed to protect the water resources of the region. Five water companies currently drilling Siwa’s groundwater including Siwa Water, Aqua Siwa, Hiyat Water, Amman Water and Safi Water.
: Bikya Masr

How Do You Shift To A Green Economy?
Well, according to the independent environmental researcher Mohamed Abdel Raouf, you get governments to do some of the following: reform subsidies, incorporate sustainable development into trade agreements, integrate management of freshwater, introduce environmental legislation and encourage the participation of the various stakeholders (NGOs, academia, business, women, youth…etc) in the design and execution of policies.
: Gulf News

Scotland Offers Qatar Some Green Advice
This partnership is as odd as it gets. Scotland which is part of the UK offers to help Qatar diversify away from oil and gas and towards a more low-carbon economy.  Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the country – which is the world leader in the commercialization of wave and tidal technology and aims to produce all its electricity from renewables by 2020 – had a lot of experience and advice to offer.
: Gulf Times

:: Image via noticelj/flickr.

For more Green News from the region see:

Guide To The Durban Climate Talks & The Oil-Rich Middle East

Water-Intensive CSP is Impossible For Desert Solar

Israel and Cyprus Align On Natural Gas and Renewables

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