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

UPDATED – 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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Carbon Footprint of Electricity in the Middle East

Guy El Khoury

Despite the increasing global interest in renewable energy sources, electricity generation remains largely dependent on fossil fuels with approximately 70% of the world’s electricity currently being generated using coal, natural gas, and petroleum products. Coal, the most carbon intensive of the fossil fuels, accounts for the largest share of electricity generated globally, with 40% of all electricity generated.

Such reliance on fossil fuels is coupled with a relatively low conversion efficiency from fossil fuels to electricity, which averages 35%. The remaining 65% of the energy contained in fuels used is in effect wasted, lost as heat in power plant turbines and generators.

In this context, it is not surprising to learn that electricity generation stands as the top contributor to global Carbon emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), electricity generation currently accounts for approximately 50% of global carbon emissions.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, electricity and heat production are responsible for 41% of total carbon emissions according to IEA data from 2009. And while not representing a consumption sector, electricity generation ranked well higher than any individual sector, including transportation, which comes second and accounts for 25% of the region’s total carbon emissions.  Yet carbon emissions from electricity generation is not equal across the region. In fact, the top 5 contributors to carbon emissions from electricity generation – namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Kuwait, and Iraq – together represent 70% of the region’s electricity generation carbon emissions, according to 2009 data by the IEA, a share that represents approximately 30% of the region’s total carbon emissions.

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