Qatar is the latest Middle Eastern country to aggressively push toward reducing their per capita CO2 emissions and embrace a low carbon economy. The country's need for new initiatives to reduce green house gases gained global attention after a 2007 UNDP Human Development Report revealed Qatar's per capita CO2 emissions to be the highest in the world at 79.3 tones/capita, well above the 9th ranked United States.
Qatar's excessive per capita carbon dioxide emissions are caused by its high emitting gas production sector and small population. Less than 10% of Qatar's energy is used within its borders while 90% is exported. To decrease CO2 emissions, the Qatari government is taking a pro-active role.
At the launch of the ambitious $70m, 10-year joint research project with Shell, Qatar Petroleum, Imperial College London and Qatar Science & Technology Park, H.E. Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah stated his government's views on reducing its carbon footprint while maintaining its position as the largest gas producing country in the world. He stated, "As a major resource holder in a time of rising demand for oil and gas, Qatar is keenly aware of the need to balance the energy security concerns of our customers with the need to preserve the environment."
This joint research project will involve the investigation of carbon capture and sequestration in carbonate reservoirs by a team of 20 Imperial College London researchers. Acquired data will be used to propose new CO2 management plans and carbon capture technology and identify suitable carbonate rock formations for carbon capture and storage of CO2 emitted from gas production, oil refineries and other manufacturing plants.
Concerning the project, H.E. Minister Al-Attiyah remarked,
"My country is committed to the development and implementation of technologies that will allow us to take on this challenge in an effective and responsible manner and is proud to have Shell and Imperial College London as partners in this quest."
The first GCC country to join the World Bank's Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) project, Qatar aims to reduce CO2 emissions by exercising tight controls on gas flaring, a major contributor to the country's CO2 emissions. This public-private partnership joins oil-producing countries, state-owned companies and major international oil companies to overcome barriers in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions caused by gas flaring.
Qatar's Investment Authority was also the first to confirm its investment of £150m into UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's new £250m UK venture capital fund for renewable energy projects. Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, who spearheaded the initiative in Qatar stated, "The partnership will provide low carbon, clean energy knowledge transfer into Qatar, and create opportunities in business, education and skills development for Qatar's low carbon economy."