National Geographic : 2017 Oct
Dubai’s auDacious goal 57 since, the city’s population has doubled to more than 2.8 million. And yet something else has hap- pened since 2006: Dubai has started to change. Gleaming driverless metro trains now run alongside Sheikh Zayed Road, carrying about as many people as the cars on that clogged 12-lane artery—and often faster. A new housing devel- opment called the Sustainable City recycles its water and waste and produces more energy than it consumes. Out in the desert, Dubai is building a giant solar-power plant that will soon be produc- ing some of the cheapest and cleanest electricity on Earth. “ The leadership has recognized that the growth of the economy is not sustainable without taking action on emissions,” says Tanzeed Alam, climate and energy director for the Emirates Wildlife Society, WWF’s local partner. In Dubai the “leadership” is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 68-year-old hereditary emir, aka the Ruler. Sheikh Mohammed took over in 2006. He has de- creed that his city will get 75 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2050. He wants it to have the smallest carbon footprint in the world. Many people I met on a recent visit, including Rostock and Alam, believe the city might actually pull A feat of air-conditioning, Ski Dubai is the Middle East’s first indoor ski park, where Emiratis typically learn the sport on one of its five runs before heading to alpine resorts abroad. A new record-shattering slope is coming, part of a building boom spurred by Expo 2020—a six-month exhibition expected to draw 25 million visitors.