Towns, cities and individuals must be held accountable for the energy they consume and should be rewarded and penalized accordingly, George Berbari, one of the world’s foremost voices on district cooling technologies told the prestigious District Cooling Stakeholders Summit, in Dubai held on 18 April 2017.
Berbari, founder of UAE-based district cooling consultancy DC PRO Engineering, and author of the thought-provoking ‘The Energy Budget’ – which outlines a self-financing long-term solution to tackle climate change – outlined that with CO2 emissions expected to reach 43 billion tonnes globally by 2040, it is crucial that municipal official, government entities, the private sector and people around the world must work together.
Climate change strategist Berbari told the summit, taking place at Le Meridien Dubai until April 19, that the construction, industrial and transportation sectors are responsible for using the most energy. He also pointed out that the agriculture sector is has a huge responsibility when it comes to global warming with methane gas approximately 30 times more harmful than CO2 and estimated to account for 16% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, with livestock and rice farming the two biggest contributors.
“Global warming is affecting humanity and considered its biggest failure; hence new approaches should be implemented.” Berbari told the summit.
“According to USA Energy Information Administration EIA, Energy-related CO2 emissions will increase, particularly in developed countries,” added Berbari, highlighting that energy-related CO2 emission reached 32 billion tonnes in 2012 and is expected to increase by 34% to 43 billion tonnes by 2040.
“Renewable energy is the superstar on the horizon and Hydrogen is the future and will play a key role in resolving the energy storage dilemma,” Berbari said.
He said that in today’s world, utility companies are directly billing the end-users without any “concern for sustainability”, suggesting that any attempts to implement regulations to keep utilities in check are inadequate, as end-users should not be allowed to consume unlimited energy under the name of “paying the bills”.
The DC PRO Engineering CEO outlined his vision for the future in reducing energy-related CO2 emissions, which would see one intermediate private-sector firm responsible for all the utility meters including in billing and the collection of property tax in a jurisdiction.
“The firm would then report the collated figures to the local authorities concerned. Establishing such a structure will ensure transparency and a reduction in costs”, said Berbari.
In his presentation, the climate change advocate suggested that the scenario of empowering cities, towns and even villages to take control of their own destiny to tackle global warming is the way moving forward. Cities should be allowed to measure the benchmark of energy consumed per person and per m2 of facility for a year and would set a target for reducing consumption by 20% in the subsequent year.
The city will then gradually increase the reduction target in a three-year cycle to further conserve resources. Residents, who consume at the reduced benchmark, or less, would benefit from minimum utility rates, which would cover energy costs, while those who consume at a higher rate than the benchmark figure would be hit with much higher bills. The funds accrued through collecting penalties (higher rates) would be used to cover the costs the city or town incurred in establishing, operating and maintaining the distribution grid; the district energy piping network, the natural gas, water and sewer networks.
The ‘Energy Budget’ book is displayed at the ‘District Cooling Stakeholders Summit’, and can be purchased online at georgeberbari.com in three formats – e-book, hardback copy or paperback, or at Magrudy’s on Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai.