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24 February 2009 11:36 am

Concern over emissions

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As Qatar is aggressively pushing to reduce its high rate of greenhouse gas emissions, a random household carbon footprint calculation has proved that a modest four-member family in the country emit over 20 tonnes of CO2 (carbon dioxide) per year. Carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through consuming electricity, burning fossil fuels, heating and transportation etc. An online calculator says that a family that consumes a minimum 3 kilowatt of electricity, 300 litres of LPG and heating 24 litres of cooking oil in a year, releases 0.13 tones of CO2. By an annual round trip air travel from Doha to New York, this four- member family further adds an average 5.50 tonnes of CO2 to the world emission pool. If the family is using a 2000 model car, it will emit 0.04 tones of CO2 per year. The older the vehicle, the higher the emission rate, says the online calculator launched by the UK-based award winning environmental consultancy Carbon Footprint Ltd. The life style is a determining factor of a family’s total emission rate. Described as secondary footprint; food preferences, consumption of seasonal food, dependence on imported food items and goods, fashion, packaging, selection of furniture and electrical and recreation contribute to major share of a family’s total emission rate. According to the secondary carbon footprint calculator, the four-member family emits an estimated 13.13 tones of carbon dioxide per year. The daily consumption of red meat, low consumption of organic food, use of trendy outfits, insisting on nicely packed articles, practice of purchasing new furniture and electrical goods; and keeping them for more than 5 years and reluctance to use recycled materials all contribute to the secondary foot print. In total, this family emits 18.86 tonnes of carbon footprint per year. However, the international data puts average footprint for people in Qatar at 69.20 tonnes. This is including the emission from the industrial sector. In the household carbon footprint calculation, cooking gas, oil and coal emit the highest rate of footprint—15 percent. Recreation and leisure contribute 14 percent of the total emission rate. While private transport is estimated to emit 10 percent of carbon footprint, the public transport emit 3 percent, the online calculator shows. After the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) revealed in 2007 that Qatar has a very high rate of carbon emissions, the country has been aggressively pushing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Qatar was the first GCC country to join the World Bank’s Global Gas emissions by exercising right control on gas flaring, a major contributor to the country’s CO2 emissions. Qatar Investment Authority was also the first to confirm its investment of £150m in British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s £250m venture capital fund for renewable energy projects. http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local%5FNews&subsection=Qatar+News&month=February2009&file=Local_News200902222505.xml