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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

US climate envoy praises Qatar’s commitment to environmental projects

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The country has been heavily investing in new technology that produces lower emissions.

Qatar has the potential to be one of the main countries to help in the transitional process of diversifying economies for better sustainability, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said during a press briefing on Thursday.

“Qatar has a great ability to be able to make an example through – I mean, first of all, the World Cup, I understand, is going to be a sustainable event, and they’re working very hard to make that happen and to offset emissions and so forth,” Kerry added.

Last month, the US official headed to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to discuss a number of developments and collaborations aimed to combat climate change in the region. The official is also expected to visit Qatar soon to discuss the country’s environmental efforts and means of collaboration.

During the press briefing, Kerry stressed the importance of dialogue and collaborative talks to raise climate ambition ahead of the United Nation’s 26th climate change conference later this year, to ensure prospects for enhanced climate co-operations, especially with the US.

Qatar has taken part in the regional dialogue, the official said, noting that he is looking forward to visiting the country “to get a deeper briefing on specifically what the vision is, the longer-term, larger vision.”

He also noted that Qatar has been trying to diversify its economy by bringing in different kinds of economic stimulus, including education, culture, and sports to attract people and revenue, making it a good example for others to follow.

“Qatar has taken part in this regional dialogue. So we have high expectations that leadership by example will be part of the transitional process of diversifying economies in a part of the world where everybody has been super-dependent, obviously, on one source, one particular source of revenue,” Kerry said.

“Every society dependent on a non-renewable resource is going to have to find alternatives for the future. So this is something that people have been seized with for some period of time. I think they’re at different levels to which people have moved effectively, and I will be very interested to get up to speed, up to date, if you will, when I do visit Qatar,” Kerry added.

Given its countless efforts in achieving sustainability and prioritising the usage of clean energy, Qatar has the opportunity to set an example of the benefits of green initiatives and their importance, the envoy added.

“I think that’s a key and I know that the leaders of Qatar have said they are committed to doing that, so that’s a very big, important first step,” he added.

The official also praised the Gulf’s efforts in addressing climate change, highlighting its keenness in deploying various renewable energy projects.

Clean Energy

In recent years, Qatar has put enormous effort into sustainability and environment preservation through implementing several policies and plans.

This includes the execution of several major projects in infrastructure and transportation that are in accordance with the highest international standards.

In less than a decade, the country will have 100% electric public transportation, the US-Qatar Business Council announced last month, taking a significant step towards sustainable developments. 

Read also: Over 1,100 electric buses set to transport fans at ‘green’ Qatar 2022

The gradual transportation to full-electric includes public bus services, government school buses, and Doha Metro’s buses. This aims to reduce harmful carbon emissions caused by conventional buses in less than a decade from now, in addition to achieving efforts to maintain environmental sustainability.

Authorities are also working towards establishing an integrated network of electric car chargers to support the ministry’s plan to gradually transform the electric transport system.

Currently, there are some 11 electric chargers operating on a regular basis, with 30 more expected to be installed this year, the report added. By the end of next year, 100 more chargers will be added around the country to ensure easy access to sustainable alternatives.

Meanwhile, the region’s largest electric charging station will be established in Lusail City, powered by solar energy and connected to all stations.

Kahramaa is also planning to set up 200 to 500 charging points for electric cars across the country by 2022.

They will be located in strategic locations, including shopping malls, residential areas, stadiums, parks and government offices, according to the National Programme for Conservation and Energy Efficiency (Tarsheed).

The country is also seeking to produce 700MW from solar panels by 2022.

In 2019, Kahramaa launched Tarsheed Photovoltaic Station for Energy Storage and Charging Electric Vehicles. The station functions as a charging point for vehicles with electricity produced from solar energy via 216 photovoltaic panels that are divided into two areas with a total area of 270 sq m.

“The station contains a unit that has two connections of Combo and CHAdeMO types that are compatible with different types of vehicles. The unit allows two cars to be charged at a time with a rapid charging level of 15 – 20 minutes. The maximum charging capacity is 100kw,” explained in reports.

In May, Qatar Investment Authority also bought some $740 million in shares at renewable energy provider Avangrid, acquiring up to 3.7% of its common stock.

The deal came as Avangrid announced plans to sell shares worth $4,000 million to both the Qatar Investment Authority [QIA] and Spanish Iberdrola Group, for $51.40 million each.

Iberdola is the largest shareholder of the US-based renewable energy firm and is purchasing $3.26 million in shares.

Carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup

Qatar is also aiming to provide safe, reliable, and accessible transportation facilities during the FIFA World Cup 2022, with electric buses to be used as the main services during the tournament.

The awaited football competition will be the first of its kind to use electric mass transit buses, demonstrating Qatar’s commitment to clean energy solutions for transport globally.

In April, authorities announced that more than 1,100 electric buses are set to transport spectators during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as part of Qatar’s continued efforts to organise a carbon-neutral mega sporting event.

All eight World Cup stadiums have also been built with sustainability as a key focus area, and their close proximity to one another will mean 2022 is set to be the first ever World Cup that will require no airplane travel between matches.

Read also: Qatar pumps $740 million into US renewable energy firm Avangrid.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said it is on track to fulfil its commitment to deliver the first carbon-neutral World Cup.


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