Do you want to take a guess where the world's first carbon neutral city is going to be?
UAE. Wasn't to hard to guess, was it? Yes, entrepreneurship seems to be on full gear there, nowadays. First there was the announcement about the world's tallest building (Tower, rather) then the announcement that Haliburton is moving it's headquarters and it's CEO from Houston to Dubai, and now this. But then, if you think about it, this announcement is a little "ironic" in the fact that it is coming from the part of the world with the biggest oil reserves (Abu Dhabi alone has about 100 Billion Barrels of oil reserves).
The city (Masdar, as it is being called) , to be built in Abu Dhabi, is expected to be a zero-carbon, zero-waste, self-contained community to be designed to house about 50,000 people. The first of seven stages of this ambitious project is expected to be completed over the next eight years.
So what does a "carbon neutral" city entail, anyway? Well, in the most literal sense of it, when complete, it should produce not one single extra molecule of carbon dioxide (the thing, that many of us now agree to be the main cause of global warming). In case of the Masdar (coming from "the source" (of the sun), in Arabic) the architects ( foster and partners) hope to achieve this by taking advantage of the extremely hot temperatures (120 degree summers) of the region. Power will come mainly from Solar and buildings will be constructed close to each other, to reduce energy consumption for cooling. Wind tunnels will be used to funnel air through the city and fountains will be constructed to dampen the heat, thus providing kind of a natural air conditioning. CO2 emitting vehicles will be left outside and commuting within the city will be by use of bicycles or on foot. Those are just some of the features that will make this dream come true.
All in all, it seems like a darn good way to use all the oil revenue they get from the rest of the world to build a secure future of leadership and energy independence!