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Energy and sustainability policies in the GCC

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Per capita oil and gas consumption and, by implication, CO2 emissions in the GCC countries are uniquely high. This paper will argue that under current global market conditions, fossil fuel conservation is a rational strategy for the Gulf monarchies; in electricity production, in particular, there are large-scale opportunities for introducing non-carbon energy sources. Many of the Gulf regimes’ current sustainability-oriented energy policies can be pursued on a project basis, building on efficient technocratic enclaves under the direct patronage of rulers. These are more likely to be successful than broader regulatory strategies aimed at changing consumer and business behaviour in general. There is considerable potential to build up local technology clusters, but spillover into society and business at large is likely to remain limited.

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