The environment in the news

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Calgary Herald February 25, 2009


"a key part of Alberta moving forward with the carbon capture funding," said Jason Chance.

Last week, the province announced legislation committing the previously announced $2 billion to help fund carbon capture projects, seen as Alberta's key solution to its growing greenhouse gas emissions.

There are 20 companies vying for the funds, including coal-electricity producers Epcor and TransAlta, as as oilsands players Canadian Natural Resources, ConocoPhillips, Shell and Petro- Canada and StatoilHydro.

Full project proposals must be submitted by the end of March, from which three to five initiatives will be approved. Bids from coal-fired electricity producers, the and manufacturing plants will be evaluated by a government committee that includes departments such as energy, environment and finance.

"By the end of June, we should be prepared to announce the funding," said Chance.

The winning projects be able to handle all facets surrounding capturing, transporting and storing carbon dioxide emissions. The Alberta government expects the projects store five million tonnes of carbon annually by 2015.

Projected costs and a company's ability to raise its share of the bill will also be factors in choosing which developments go ahead.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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Thursday, February 26 2009


Water crisis alert

THE Middle East has five per cent of the world's population, but possesses only 1pc of renewable fresh water, an expert said yesterday. According to the World Bank, renewable water will also decline by 50pc by 2050, said Saudi Aramco community services executive director Mazen Snobar.

He was speaking ahead of a conference on 'Innovative Water and Wastewater Reuse Technologies,' to be held next week.

"Gulf countries spend around $133 billion (BD503m) every year on water and wastewater management," said Mr Snobar, who is also conference organising committee head.

"We need more cost-effective, innovative, and sustainable technologies to help prevent the coming water


Mr Snobar said that non-renewable resources such as sea water desalination, recycling and innovative conservation policies to control human and agriculture consumption can play an important role in reducing water shortages.

However, he said, it should be done in a manner that does not harm the environment.

The three-day conference will be held from March 2 at the Gulf Hotel under the patronage of Works Minister and Electricity and Water Authority head Dr Fahmi Al Jowder.

"The conference will highlight the magnitude of the water scarcity in the region and promote dialogue and networking between all water industry stakeholders to better address the issue of water availability," said Mr Snobar.

He said that the conference aimed to provide the regional water professionals with information on the latest innovative water and wastewater technologies.

Authority chief executive Dr Abdulmajeed Al Awadhi said the conference will discuss continuous planning for water technology, re-using water, privatisation and the financial choices in using water and wastewater, treating industrial wastewater and water conservation.

It is being organised by the Saudi Arabian Water Environment Association, Water Environment Federation, International Desalination Association, and is supported by Saudi Aramco.

"An exhibition will be held on the sidelines of the conference, where major companies working in the field of water will exhibit the latest innovations and technologies in water production, re-use, wastewater and conservation systems," said Dr Al Awadhi.


QU celebrates environment day

QATAR University began its Qatar Environment Day celebrations yesterday with a series of awareness events.

The two-day event is being organised by the department of biological and environmental sciences of the College of Arts & Sciences.
“The focus of the event is to trace the past from the 1930s to the present to show changes in our approach and regard for the environment,” department head Dr Hamda al-Naemi said.
The objective is to encourage visitors to the exhibition to become proactive on the issue of conservation and preservation.
Dean of the college Dr Siham al-Qaradawi pointed out that the environment is placed high on the science curriculum, a fact reflected in the recently-established environmental science programme.
“By incorporating the programme’s courses with the Colleges of Law and Engineering, we are keeping in step with the growing needs of all sectors of our society, especially in the oil and gas industry,” she maintained.
The event included an exhibition showing traditional methods of fishing, pearl-diving and basket weaving alongside modern botanical, marine and wildlife conservation efforts.
Pearl diver Saad Ismail gave a presentation on the process of pearl diving. Additionally, a seminar on ‘Environment welfare in religious view’ was held at the College of Shariah and Islamic Studies.
The activities will continue today with the release of Qatari birds into the environment by QU President Prof Sheikha Abdulla al-Misnad, followed by a clean-up campaign at the Department’s Biology Field and a recycling training programme for QU kindergarten.
Talking about the urgency to address the situation, Dr al-Naemi noted that there is a global momentum to reverse the effects of development and modernisation on the environment.
“We are doing our part to promote awareness and inspire our community at QU and the wider society,” she added.

30-minute event to shed light on global warming

THE Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), in association with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, The Supreme Education Council and Kahramaa, will organise a ‘Lights Off’ event in Qatar on March 3.

“It is a call to action to every individual, every business and school, and every community in Qatar to save energy on Tuesday,” a spokesman for the organisers said.
The initiative is part of the Schools Olympic Day Programme. This year, the theme is ‘Sport and Environment’.
Announcing the Lights Off event at a press conference at QOC premises yesterday were Abdul-Rahman al-Dosari, Director of PR and Marketing Department at QOC, Ali al-Jaber, Director of Sports Education at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Mohamed al-Mohayzii, Director of PR Department at the Ministry and Nasser al-Mohannadi Director of PR at Kahramaa.
On the day of the event, the schools in Qatar will switch off the lights for half-an-hour in the morning starting from 10 and the QOC tower will be dark between 7pm and 7.30pm. QOC has urged all households in Qatar to switch off the lights when the QOC tower is darkened.
“We recognise that half-an-hour is a symbol rather than an action that will end global warming. Our extended goals include educating the local students about simple steps that can reduce energy consumption and climate change,” said Abdul-Rahman Mosallam al-Dosari.
“We’re aiming to reach all the schools in Qatar and calling upon all private and Government entities and the Qatari community to join hands in a national effort to show that it is possible to take action on global warming,” al-Dosari said.
“QOC also encourages the local community to take part in the next Earth Hour which will take place on Saturday, 28 March 2009.”
Earth Hour is an annual international event created by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), held on the last Saturday of March, that asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.
QOC believes that the Schools Olympic Day programme will foster understanding and awareness of the Olympic ideals and will provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about sport and a healthy lifestyle.
The programme for 2008-2009 has been developed in co-operation with the Friends of Environment Centre and the Ministry of Environment. QOC and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education are setting up environmental projects which specifically offset the carbon footprint - as well as environment education.
The students participating in the Schools Olympic Day programme have also been involved in cleaning of beaches, planting of trees, and waste recycling projects.


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