Just this week we learned that Gulf countries are considering ending oil subsidies and that an Eco-Playbus is tooting around Bethlehem, showing some signs that the Middle East is moving towards a more sustainable future.
That news was then overshadowed by the hideous jeweled Christmas tree standing in an Abu Dhabi hotel. Just when we want to give up completely on ever getting the wealthy Emirates on track with the real world, an encouraging new bus arrived in the UAE that promises to be carbon-neutral.
The bus is the baby of a partnership between the facilities management company Farnek Avireal and a Swiss non-profit that provides carbon management consultation and services. The idea is that Farnek Avireal will pay $1400 each year to the non-profit, which will then pump those monies into carbon offsetting programs throughout the world.
The efficacy of carbon-offsetting has yet to be widely accepted, but both the UAE and Swiss feel that this is a good step in the right direction. They hope other companies will soon follow suit.
Even so, the bus – a 2010 Nissan Civilian – is expected to stave off 12 tons of carbon emissions each year. With a carrying capacity of 26 passengers, it gets 35km per gallon, and will travel approximately 82km each day.
“This carbon neutral initiative with Myclimate is a regional first for both parties,” Markus Oberlin, general manager, Farnek Avireal Middle East told Construction Week Online.
“Hopefully we have now set the trend for other commercial organisations throughout the region, to try and reduce their carbon footprint whether that’s joining a global carbon offset programme or examining ways in which they can cut the carbon emissions of the buildings they operate from.”
While carbon-offsetting programs feel a little too much like an excuse to keep on oiling and gassing, we’ll take this kind of message over the horrific tree any day!
More on cars and transport in the UAE: