Qatar Sustainability Issues

The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Qatar:

1. Water Issues

Excessive extraction of groundwater in the agricultural sector is estimated at 252 million cubic meters per year, 25% of which is used for irrigating fodder and is considered a waste of water. There is also the issue of how to limit water consumption in Qatar (high per capita water consumption) in light of the decline in underground water levels, increasing exploitation and possible depletion. There is also an increase in domestic consumption with slow implementation of the integrated water management approved in 2017.


2. Economic Growth

Over the past 25 years the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically, despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment – a number that has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015.

However, as the global economy continues to recover we are seeing slower growth, widening inequalities, and not enough jobs to keep up with a growing labour force. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.


3. Climate Change

There is no country that is not experiencing the drastic effects of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990. Global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not act. The annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This is not to mention the human impact of geo-physical disasters, which are 91 percent climate-related, and which between 1998 and 2017 killed 1.3 million people, and left 4.4 billion injured. The goal aims to mobilize US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development.

Fossil CO2 emissions in Qatar were 98,990,085 tons in 2016. CO2 emissions increased by 1.79% over the previous year, representing an increase by 1,736,303 tons over 2015, when CO2 emissions were 97,253,782 tons. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years. The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the Middle East is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.


4. Gender Inequality

Despite this increasing trend, women’s participation in leadership and decision making is still generally weak since women only accounted for only 6% of Qatar’s total workforce in 2016. There are still many challenges that hinder the goal of women’s empowerment and gender equality like, most prominently, the difficulty of changing the cultural concepts instilled in Qatar’s conservative society.


5. Energy Consumption

The per capita consumption of electric power in Qatar was 15,307 Kilowatt/hour per year in 2014. This consumption was reduced by 18% during the rationalization program period (2012-2016). Moreover, 17 main electricity transmission stations were opened and 14 high power land cables (220 KV, 132 KV and 66 KV) were installed. Boiler and solar board’s specifications were completed.