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Friday, September 24, 2021

Qatar holds world’s second largest ecological footprint per person

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Photo of Sealine beach for illustrative purposes only.
Photo of Sealine beach for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s environmental record has been improving over the past several years, but it is still among the top consumers of productive land and water, states a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.

The Gulf country is now ranked as having the second-highest ecological footprint globally, down from holding the top spot in 2012, according to the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2014. Kuwait now has the world’s worst footprint.

Despite Qatar’s marginal improvement, the report warns that the state’s consumption remains unsustainable, saying “if all people on the planet had the footprint of the average resident of Qatar, we would need 4.8 planets.”

The study, published every two years, is a health check on the changing biodiversity and ecosystems of the world, and measures the use of natural resources globally.

Qatar’ footprint

The report includes an index of 152 countries’ ecological footprints.

The footprints take into account the amount of biologically productive land and water area (biocapacity) required to produce the resources that an individual, population or activity consumes, and to absorb carbon dioxide emissions they generate. This is measured in global hectares.

Based on the latest available (2010) figures, Qatar’s footprint measured approximately 8.5 global hectares (gha) – the second highest figure in the world. This means it consumed and wasted more resources per person than almost every other country globally.

Only Kuwait fared worse, with a footprint of just over 10gha, while Gulf neighbor UAE trails Qatar with 7.75gha.

The world’s average footprint per capita was 2.6gha, and the global average biocapacity per person was 1.7gha in 2010.

Based on Qatar’s population at the time of 1.76 million, carbon emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels accounted for more than two-thirds (70 percent) of Qatar’s footprint.

In the previous (2012) report, which reflected 2008 numbers, Qatar topped the world in terms of its consumption and waste, recording a footprint of 11.64gha.

Energy inefficiency

With such a small population, Qatar’s overall impact on the environment is rather negligible. But residents’ consumption habits stand out in stark difference to those in most of the rest of the world.

The country regularly tops global tables as being among the world’s least energy efficient countries per head and is also one of the world’s biggest consumers of water.

Figures from another recent study state that Qatar residents are among the highest energy users in the world per capita.

The Oil Price report put the country in second place globally in terms of energy consumed per person, just behind world-leader Iceland.

Using World Bank figures, each person in Qatar gets through an average of 17,418kg of oil equivalent – the amount of energy that can be extracted from one kilogram of crude oil.

Free (for nationals) or heavily subsidized energy has been blamed in the past for Qatar’s poor conservation of its resources.

National campaigns that aim to encourage more environmental awareness and conservation such as Kahramaa’s Tarsheed appear to be having limited impact.

Global trends

Globally, ecological footprints continue to grow. This means that the area needed to supply the ecological services people are using has increased faster than the world’s biocapacity – the land actually available to provide these services.

Even taking into account technological advances to improve yields, the report warns:

“The increase in the Earth’s productivity has not been enough to compensate for the demands of the growing global population.”

The report found that overall, the world’s population is using its resources 1.5 times more quickly than they can be replenished, with trees being felled, groundwater pumped and carbon dioxide emitted faster than the earth can replace them.

Its figures also show that between 1970 and 2010, the world’s population of fish, birds, mammals and amphibians fell by 52 percent – far faster than previously thought.

The 2012 report put the figure of decline at around 28 percent for the period 1970-2008, although these figures were based mostly on information from Europe and North America.

The dramatic decrease is primarily due to loss of habitat, climate change and exploitation of species through hunting and fishing, the report said.

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International said in a statement:

“We are using nature’s gifts as if we had more than just one Earth at our disposal. By taking more from our ecosystems and natural processes than can be replenished, we are jeopardizing our very future.”

Lambertini calls on younger generations to live in a more sustainable way, in a bid to turn around these trends.

Here’s the full report:

[scribd id=241562343 key=key-Vo8k3yrVjpEt7dHOnusD mode=scroll]

Thoughts?

39 COMMENTS

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outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

If all the Qatari’s in my street and beyond stopped having their fleet of cars washed EVERY SINGLE DAY by the driver WITH A HOSEPIPE, the eco footprint would be halved overnight.
If my neghbours would put a timer on the 50+ lights around the walls of their house which otherwise stay on until the morning, perhaps we could see the night sky and halve the energy consumption at a stroke.
If my journey to work everyday only took 20 minutes of driving instead of up to 2hours fuming behind the wheel, I could halve my petrol consumption.
If, if, if………only

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

If only people here would stop driving stupidly big cars with V8 engines….if only.

HalfManArmy
HalfManArmy
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

Well, the country is mostly expats.

Or is that fact only relevant when you like it?

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  HalfManArmy

If I washed my car with a hosepipe, which is illegal, I would be prosecuted. I don’t own a fleet of cars, I have 1 which I use to get to work. Obviously the sheer volume of expat workers contributes to the consumption, but that is volume, not use- huge difference. We can argue the point, but really the issue is about Qatar taking responsibility for its over consumption. It has to take place on the ground, by individuals- Qataris and expats, making changes to the way they use energy and water. Laws help, but the ones we have are not enforced, and basically the change has to be from the heart not from a big stick

HalfManArmy
HalfManArmy
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

Fast expansion leads to this consumption. No way around it. Your ridiculous car washing example is nothing compared to all the construction sites and factories. ESPECIALLY when you look at it per capita. How many countries can you count with populations like Qatar and the amount of factories in Qatar.

The fact that you think it’s people washing their cars is the cause of this shows that you’re just trying to blame everything on Qatar. I got a ticket for washing my car with a hose, stop playing the victim card so much it’s really disgusting.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  HalfManArmy

My example of car washing is far from ridiculous, HalfManArmy. It is an example of personal responsibility and how changes have to be made at ground level. Around the world, the construction industry accounts for he biggest CO2 emission, and it is subject to ore and more stringent control. This is both in the constriction and procurement process , and in the energy efficiency of the outcomes, whether for reduced consumption in use or reduced carbon in procurement. This is all great- it isn’t happening in Qatar and there is no outcry from the population, no demands for reduction I waste, because it hasn’t even hit the radar.
Someone commented that water consumption doesn’t matter because it’s only seawater…it’s drinking water, it’s only used once. That kind of careless consumption has to be addressed because until PEOPLE embrace change, nothing will happen.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  HalfManArmy

By the way, I don’t ‘play the victim’. The fact that Locals can overuse with impunity is a fact. Not because they are bad people, but because the need to reduce because its the right thing to do, hasn’t hit home.

Fearless Fawn
Fearless Fawn
6 years ago
Reply to  HalfManArmy

This thought struck me too. However I suspect that as the results are per capita, the consumption of the whole country is divided by the population. Thus if you looked at the worst households, these would be considerably worse than the figures in the report. The same aspects affect reports on income per capita where the low income majority reduces the ‘per capita’ figure. It is also important to consider the effect of industry. (Does the report include industrial energy / process water in the in the ‘per capita figures’? Haven’t read the full report however)

HalfManArmy
HalfManArmy
6 years ago
Reply to  Fearless Fawn

Thank you for your well reasoned response.

I haven’t read the report either, but I would guess that the majority of the consumption is from industrial uses. Pair that with a tiny population of 2 million and you have one of the highest consumptions ‘per capita’

HalfManArmy
HalfManArmy
6 years ago
Reply to  Fearless Fawn

Don’t know how to edit so one more comment:

Just as proof that the tiny population plays a huge factor in this, think of anything per capita, and Qatar is probably in the top 10. Whether it’s good or bad, a tiny population is a serious multiplier when it comes to per capita counts.

Aussie expat
Aussie expat
6 years ago

If only there was some reliance on solar energy….

SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago
Reply to  Aussie expat

If. If. If. If my grandmother had wheels, she would be a bus! :p

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

sounds like you need 2 help her loose weight

Mr. B
6 years ago

The government ought to introduce a carbon tax over a period of time for households and businesses. That would make people directly accountable for how much they waste.

That being said, taking on the mentality of “free stuff from the government” that is now deeply rooted amongst both nationals and expatriates will not be easy.

At the end of the day, everyone should be worried about the air quality – that alone is worth the effort of forcing everyone to pay for what they pollute.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

Something tells me there would be one group of people excluded from said tax and the others would pay double.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Go cry about it.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Great comeback, not

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

There are no comebacks to retarded speculations…

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

what are you 12?

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

I’m confused..

Based on Qatar’s population at the time of 1.76 million, carbon emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels accounted for more than two-thirds (70 percent) of Qatar’s footprint.

So does this take into account the pollution caused by Ras Laffan and all the energy facilities up there .. Or does it just take into account household power and water usage?

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I guess it’s one number that includes industrial cities, and resources used in the production of oil & gas, but as you know many people like to blame the Qataris for everything.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

Ohh dear me. ..paranoid. Just accept the facts, and maybe try and rectify the fact you are contributing to the destruction of the planet at a higher rate then near all other individuals of other nations. Then cut down on energy use. Every bit helps.

Shabina921
Shabina921
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

To be fair, this country is comprised largely of expats. In 2008, 2010 and definitely now…

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

Shabina, that is population, not use. Expats do NOT use utilities at the rate the locals do. When you can afford everything and have most things given for free, they have no value to you. Why turn the outside lights off when you don’t pay for the electricity? Why stop pouring thousands of litres of drinking water down the drain in the street every morning when you don’t pay for it? This is not done by Expats….

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

hello!! have you been in any qatari house? or you’re just assuming this is true because you see lights turned on at night.. like every single house qatari or none… I’m sorry but I have to call you out on your BS… each Qatar family is entitled to one household with free utitliy.. that means if I’m not married and living on my own, I pay the regular power rate every expat pays, and if I have a farm house or a second home, again I pay the regular power rate… free is for one household per family only… and unlike western expats who live two a flat or three a house, a typical qatari household has anything from 5 to 10 people living in them… just bring the weighted average of a household consumption down…
and holdon, what is the hourly rate for power and price of house hold litre or water compared to other places in the world.. it’s fractional and hardly covers 15% of the actual cost of producing or it’s true value…
and my dear friend… the water people use to clean cars with is sea water… not natural drinking water.. not ground water.. the waste is in the power generation required to purify it… and if you think expats don’t hose down their cars .. plus thier garden.. plus their windows.. plus their walls whenever their is a sandstorm… then come to my neighbourhood in ain Khaleed and see for yourself … coz I’m sure they don’t pay for it either, it’s their compaines…

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

A_qtr- firstly thank you for your clarification on the extent of free utilities available to Qatari households for their primary residence. I didn’t know so may Qataris lived alone and had to pay for all services. Certainly one would expect that water and power supply for a hobby farm would be paid for by the owner as would other second homes. I would suggest that having 5-10 people in a house would possibly increase consumption, rather than bring it down to some weighted average. For example I only have the AC on in the rooms in use, not the whole house; don’t have lights on if the room isn’t occupied; don’t put the garden lights on unless we are having an evening outside etc etc.
I agree wholeheartedly that power and water are inordinately cheap in Qatar, certainly compared to my home country where it would cost around QAR2500 per annum for water and approx. QAR11,000 for gas and electricity. Certainly it means that people there do everything possible to reduce consumption, and water saving and resuse ( such as for watering gardens) is commonplace. Perhaps the very fact that utilities are relatively inexpensive here contributes to the general apathy towards responsible use. Also , I don’t know of any expats who have utilities provided for free, unless they are in some shared accommodation. Most of us pay for it ourselves.
Finally, A_qtr, thank you for engaging in the debate- its perhaps through a discussion forum like this that we can, together help make some changes in Qatar, which are commonplace elsewhere, and which make people feel engaged with the global efforts to slow Climate change. I look forward to reading further.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabina921

Yes Shabina true. But expats have no power to influence change here, and locals have no will because they are payed off….if locals woke up and found some environmental concience and stopped whinning that they were being picked on, then maybe they would influence change and contribute to reducing carbon and waste emissions. But sadly one has to only watch them driving around in V8 motor vehicles, pouring rubbish out of their cars, visit their rubbish strewn beaches to reliase they could not care. Oh and not to mention the lack of recycling..”because it is too costly” but we are the richest nation in the world???? In any event the whole expansion of Doha into a city of 2.3 million (so far) in a desert that can only sustain 20 thousand at best is proof of the absolute disregard for the environment in pursuit of some idiodic self proclaimed entitlement of wealth and glory….judgement day will come one day and ….

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Fully agree. we should close down all our gas producing plants and then push countries which relay on gas as a cleaner source of energy to switch back to coal, fuel oil, diesel or nuclear. where does qatar export gas to… UK, India, S. Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan… very backward non pollutant non-industrialized countries right?

If you want to accept facts, then pleases study the fact oh dear observant one. learn not to look at each nation and where the carbon emission comes from and then see if such a carbon emission has a net effect globally, in this case our gas production reduces UK coal consumption.
Pick a few other sources of your news other than dohanews and learn

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Hollow argument my friend. Australia with all the coal production, oil and gas production, iron ore mining etc doesn’t rate anywhere near you. Face facts, you pollute higher then near all others, simple.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Now the world can blame Kuwait.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

My comments keep disappearing….

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

You’ve been naughty?

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

Surely someone can be bribed so Qatar can have the title!?!?!?!

zoeval
zoeval
6 years ago

There’s no excuse – we are all people on the only planet we have. What is surprising and disgraceful is that this is not rocket science – other countries have been recycling, re-using, running effective public education campaigns, investing in alternative energy sources etc etc etc for DECADES and yet here they seem to be struggling with it as if they were the first to event think about it. Here’s two suggestions which would have immediate effect. 1) Discontinue plastic bags at all supermarkets and get people to bring their own reusable bags. 2) establish a decent public transport system e.g. green buses. Oh, and 3) have compost bins in every yard/compound and start composting green matter and growing your own veges. Again, pretty basic.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Wait!! hold on, i missed the bottom debate… this article is total BS!! And the reason is the same case has been
argued aggressively during COP 18 which was hosted in Qatar.

If the above excludes carbon emissions from Ras Laffan where all the LNG producing plants are located, then fine, it is very shameful and something must been done. However if it does include then this report it total BS and a large
portion of this story is missing.

Yes Qatar produces oil, but a relatively small amount compared to other OPEC producers, actually the least
amount in OPEC. What really drives carbon emission in Qatar is not V8s on the road, but a result of the LNG plants
in the North.

The same LNG which is produced and shipped to industrialized countries like the UK, Japan, China, India and S.
Korea, where Qatar LNG makes up a large portion of their fuel use.

LNG from Qatar helps industries and households in the UK reduce their carbon footprint by off-setting the use
of more pollutant coal, fuel oil, diesel and Nuclear (which creates nuclear waste). What I understand of LNG is the process of creating does create pollution, but in very small and limited amount due to the need of wasteful flaring. However given Qatar is the world’s largest producer of LNG means there’s a lot of this of these small flaring going
on. I believe Qatar produces twice as much LNG as the next top producing country.

However, the process of LNG consumption in power plants and heavy industries is actually considered to be
the cleanest of all available fossil fuels, down the line from renewable sources. And way more economical than
solar or air.

So to be fair, what needs to be looked is Qatar is becoming a source of carbon emission however globally industrialized nations are reducing carbon emissions resulting is a global net decrease in carbon.

So does Qatar emits carbon, yes, in large amounts not all! Not when compared to other larger countries, but if
we are too look at it on a per capita basis, of 2.1 Million people, then yes it does. I mean India and China combined
have over 2.5 Billion people and the US has 400 Million! So per capita the figure will always look smaller than Qatar even though probably 70% of the world’s pollution probably comes from these three countries (70% isn’t fact checked, I’m guessing).

I also can’t be bothered to google data, but I’m positive Qatar supplies over 25% of UK’s gas demand and
the same for Japan, China and South Korea.

As for household consumption in Qatar. I agree it’s large. But to make the claim that Qatari
households waste more than non-Qatari households is very shameful. The street I live in has just as many non-Qatari as Qataris and everyone wastes equally. If anything its the expats John and Jane with their green lawns and potted flowers and tree who water their gardens twice a day that should be of a concern.

And no, not all Qatari households own seven V8 cars, shocking right! Just like not all western expats own Nissan sunnys or compact kias! There are many expat families in Doha who own at least two cars, or more depending on how many members drive. Because you drive a ‘98 Pajero, doesn’t mean you pollute less (ps
your 98 Pajero probably emits more carbon than my 2014 V8 land cruiser).

Lastly, get real folks, if you really give a rat-behind on the environment add a useful comments on how to
reduce individual carbon foot print than use this as an opportunity to act very immature…

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

BS. Australia produces the majority of iron ore , a huge amount of LNG and Oil and comes no where near you. You counter your own argument by saying that LNG production produces very little pollution. Then what does? Greed does, greedy locals and expats..your issue, only you as a citizen can effect change in this realm through influence and change. Us expats can do our best with our daily behaviour but only Qataris can make immediate and long term changes to rein back the damage you/we are doing as expats have no power or influence. Recycle, tax fuel, tax power, rebates on smaller cars, ban plastic bags, etc, lobby for those type of changes.

KK
KK
6 years ago

Ecogoly and Qatar, they truly life on another planet

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
6 years ago

hello people! We are on this planet all together…..think how to respect environment and not to waste water!!! What are we leaving to our kids???? You…yes you who waste water everyday one day you will have children….dont they deserve to have water??

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