Sea Level Rise in the Gulf

Karim Elgendy

As the last ice age ended, the earth’s climate began to warm up, glaciers and ice sheets started to melt, and sea levels rose globally. With sea levels rising, seawater (once again) flooded into the Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf or Arabia Gulf), whose sea floor was exposed for millennia and covered in sand dunes (except for lakes and the Tigris-Euphrates river meandering across it towards the Arabian sea).

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Cities, Biocapacity, and Trade: The Case of Ma’rib

Karim Elgendy

Human settlements have traditionally needed an environmental rationale to exist where they do. They needed access to freshwater and to ecosystems that have enough biocapacity to produce biological materials to sustain their residents. Settlements also required a climate that was moderate enough – or can be economically moderated – to support human habitation.

But for these settlements to become thriving cities, the prerequisites above were not enough. Successful cities depended to a large extent on their integration into an efficient trade network.

One historic regional example of this is the rise and fall of the city of Ma’rib, which is today a settlement of less than 20,000 people just 75 miles east of the Yemeni capital Sana’a, but for almost a millennium, was one of the region’s greatest cities.

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Policies to Buildings: The UAE’s Emergence as the GCC’s Sustainability Leader

UAE Map

Karim Elgendy

Settling along the shores of the gulf

In the barren deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, people have always settled in locations that provided freshwater and enough natural resources to enable trade and economic development. Human settlements in the southern shores of the Gulf, in what we now know as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are no exceptions to this.

For the last four centuries, the Bedouins of the Banu Yas tribes have settled a strip of land along the northern edge of the dune fields of the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. Drawn to its plentiful ground water resources they established what is now known as the Liwa Oasis and developed date plantations which provided subsistence. But when fresh water was discovered on the Abu Dhabi Island in the late 18th century, Al Bu Falah branch of Banu Yas moved to the coastal location which – in addition to providing fresh water- also allowed them to develop pearling industry and trade.

In the early 19th century, another branch of the Banu Yas, known as Al Bu Falasa, moved from the Abu Dhabi Island to settle near a natural creek 90 miles east of the Abu Dhabi Island. In addition to ground water and pearling, the creek – now known as the Dubai  Creek- allowed the establishment of a port which facilitated trade with neighbors across the gulf and beyond. They quickly established a settlement on the western shore the creek – known later as Bur Dubai – but had to abandon it two decades later and move to the eastern shore after a smallpox outbreak. By the end of the 19th century, the combined advantages of fresh water availability, the natural port, the pearling industry, and the good geographic location, were sufficient for the new settlement to endure a sweeping fire that burnt through most of it dwellings. The Bedouins that have settled in Dubai sought no other location and simply rebuilt their settlement.

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From Paris to Marrakech and Beyond

 

National share of 2014 global carbon emissions across the Middle East and North Africa region, including Turkey, Iran, and Israel. Copyrights: Carboun

National share of 2014 global carbon emissions across the Middle East and North Africa region, including Turkey, Iran, and Israel. Copyrights: Carboun

Karim Elgendy

The two-week COP 21 climate conference in paris  (also known as the 21st Conference of Parties to the United National Framework Convention for Climate Change ) ended on Saturday 12 December with an adopted agreement covering 195 countries, and providing a framework for voluntary efforts to significantly reduce carbon emissions starting 2020.

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How Sustainable is Your Oasis?: A Review of Water Resources in Middle East Cities

Karim Elgendy

Liwa Date Farm, UAE. Copyrights: Google

Liwa date farms benefit from some of the freshest ground water in the UAE. Copyrights: Google

Those who visit the Middle East and North Africa from more temperate climates are often struck with how hot and dry the region is, and how scarce its rainfall. Some wonder why cities became established here, and how they continue to exist despite the lack of renewable freshwater.

These concerns are not entirely groundless. Yet these cities’ existence is not in any way miraculous: it’s merely an example of what can happen if cities fail to strike a sustainable balance between growth and limited resources.

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Carboun recognized by World Green Building Council

World GBC

On the 17th October 20102 , Karim Elgendy, founder of the Carboun initiative, was awarded the David Gottfried Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award by the World Green Building Council. The award was presented to Karim in recognition of his efforts in coordinating Carboun’s research and communication work. It is was also awarded to acknowledge the role of the initiative in raising awareness of the green building movement in the Middle East and in shaping the way that cities in the region develop sustainably.

The WorldGBC is a network of national Green Building Councils in 98 countries around the world, with a membership of approximately 50,000 companies and other organizations, all with the aim of transforming the sustainability of the built environment and enabling sustainable living. The prestigious David Gottfried Award is given to individuals whose contribution to the global green building movement has been shown to be unique, innovative and entrepreneurial.

For more information on the award and official announcement from the World Green Building Council, please visit the 2013 Green Buildings Awards announcement page.

Empowering Egypt: Strategies

Rokia Raslan

Wind Turbines in Egypt - Copyrights: Igor Srdanovic

Wind Turbines in Egypt – Copyrights: Igor Srdanovic

In aiming to analyse the underlying issues that contributed to the rolling power blackouts of 2012 in Egypt, the first part of this two-part article focussed on attempting to offer an answer to the question of why did the  blackouts occur. Following on from this,  this second part attempts to answer the next crucial question of how do we solve this problem. While the previous Egyptian Government has focused on promoting behavioural change strategies as their primary approach for bridging the energy gap, a number of alternative strategies such as infrastructure upgrade, demand side management, increasing energy efficient of buildings, and diversification of energy sources were available. In an aim to explore this diverse range of policy options, the following will highlight and discuss the potential impact of a number of these possible solution pathways.

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