Energy Policies of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries--possibilities and limitations of ecological modernization in rentier states
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are major oil and natural gas producing countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council. The six GCC countries fall in the top 25 countries of carbon dioxide emissions per capita and are perceived as the main actors blocking international climate change negotiations. The aim of this article is to discuss from a policy perspective the capacities of the GCC states to switch toward an ecological modernization of their energy sectors. At the beginning of the paper, I analyze the benefits of transforming oil wealth into funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency. After this, I discuss obstacles to such a transformation process based on the rentier states theory. Finally, I investigate governance of the GCC on all levels (international, regional, and local). The article shows that the GCC countries have recently adopted a more pro-active approach toward ecological modernization. This reorientation has not yet resulted in the development of consistent strategies and policies, however. The concluding assumption based on the concept of policy transfer is that pioneering projects such as Masdar City and innovative regulation like the green building code in Dubai will spread within the GCC.
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