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Dubai is internet hosting COP28 – however is it taking part in its half to deal with local weather change?  | Local weather Information

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Inexperienced desert.

To my left, the waves of sand are damaged by sparse scrubby bushes.

To my proper, the towering skyscrapers of Dubai.

However beneath my toes, a solar energy station on prime of a faculty.

The petrostate is altering.

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Kings’ College Al Barsha supplies some proof, the place 3,000 pupils research right here beneath two megawatts of photo voltaic panels.

Photo voltaic is an ideal match right here, not simply because the solar shines virtually each day, but in addition almost three-quarters of electrical energy within the Emirates is used to run air-con – important on sunny days.

These panels had been put in by SirajPower – and its CEO, Laurent Longuet, used to work for the oil firm Whole.

“Ten years in the past, I had a variety of associates working in nuclear or standard fuels, they had been making enjoyable of photo voltaic however now a variety of them work in photo voltaic,” he mentioned.

“Over a full yr, greater than half of the power is coming from the roof, however on sure days we export some electrical energy again to the community. Photo voltaic is by far the most cost effective type of electrical energy. Even right here, it is 50% much less [than fossil fuels].”

With photo voltaic so low-cost, the enterprise case for it and the local weather case are aligned, which can be a much bigger driver than altruism. Although photo voltaic rooftops are nonetheless the exception, they’re spreading – as are big photo voltaic farms within the desert.

Dubai now will get 15% of its power from renewables. The greener shift is not simply in solar energy however in a much less apparent desert winner: rising salad greens.

In direction of the Omani border lies al Ain, a metropolis based on an oasis with a historical past of farming.

However now it is gone very hi-tech.

Learn extra from COP28:
Is UK ‘fuelling’ the climate crisis?
Will this summit change the world?
Who is attending COP28?

Slender trays of rising spinach transfer imperceptibly slowly via a large glass home cooled by evaporation from the crops with a bit of additional assistance on the most well liked days. Planting, motion, vitamin and harvest are all robotic.

The pinnacle grower of Pure Harvest farms, Jan Prins, has grown veg everywhere in the world.

“That is essentially the most refined greenhouse I’ve ever labored in,” he mentioned. “We’ve got such management right here – regardless of the tough atmosphere, we are able to create circumstances the place the plant will flourish and there’s the optimum switch of daylight into meals.”

They produce 15 tonnes of spinach right here each week and 25 tonnes of peppers alongside melons, strawberries, blackberries and tomatoes.

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King ‘frightened tremendously’ by local weather change

Some veg remains to be rooted in peat, which has local weather impacts because it emits carbon dioxide when it dries, however Jan is satisfied that is outweighed by the advantage of being native.

“You do not need to put your tomatoes in an aeroplane to fly them from Europe to right here, so from that perspective for the planet this can be a higher answer.”

However the Emirates, like many rich nations, wastes big quantities of meals – a lot of which matches to landfill to rot and emit methane, a robust greenhouse fuel.

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Corporations are beginning to fill the inexperienced void right here, too.

Aliyu Mohammed Ali is the co-founder of Efhaaz – and as I stroll via their yard, they’re recycling recent meals, espresso cups, hand lotion, sacks of rice, plastic pot scourers and even plane seats to make compost, automobile cleaners, worktops and extra.

“There’s over $1.6bn (£1.26bn) of meals that’s wasted yearly from the Emirates – round 200kg per particular person,” he mentioned. We’re rising 5 to seven instances our capability yearly. We try to be a drive for good for the atmosphere whereas on the identical time being a drive for enterprise progress and earnings.”

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Cameron defends UK local weather file

All these corporations really feel actual change occurring – the Emirates going from laggards to main gamers in inexperienced tech.

However the nation remains to be making billions extracting and exporting fossil fuels, with plans to pump far more.

At the least now it is not the one recreation on the town.

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