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Petrol price policy to create 'a safer and cleaner UAE', environmentalists say

2015-07-26 14:35:49

Environmentalists have hailed the move to deregulate the price of petrol as a serious step towards a sustainable and eco-conscious future.

Adnan Amin, director general of the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, said it showed the country was seeking a more diversified economy.

“This move represents a visionary initiative for the UAE and will strengthen the country’s ability to meet its diversification strategy and contribute to the international community’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” Mr Amin said.

He believed it indicated a clear shift in policy towards more environmentally friendly economic decisions.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that subsidies, including costs stemming from health and environmental damages, amount to US$5.3 trillion (Dh19.5tn) worldwide, which dramatically skews the cost of energy worldwide.

Fahad Shehail, chief operating officer of Bee’ah, Sharjah’s environment agency, also lauded the deregulation.

“This announcement will lead to a safer and cleaner country for our present generation, while also ensuring that future generations inherit a land that is safe, healthy and free from preventable pollution,” Mr Shehail said. The move would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, protect the local environment and improve the health of communities, he said.

“Furthermore, this decision will ensure the preservation of our valuable natural resources while encouraging people to consider more sustainable methods of transport.”

Abdul Rahim Al Hammadi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Water, said the reduction of consumption of natural resources was a goal of the UAE Vision 2021.

It would achieve long-term economic growth that took account of environmental factors, he said.

Mr Hammadi noted that freeing up fuel prices and tying consumption to global prices would have an effect on the sustainability of resources.

It would also encourage the use of energy-saving methods, especially in industry and transport.

Dr Sulaiman Al Jassim, an economics expert and former president of Zayed University, said: “It will prompt people to utilise more public transport.”

He believed the Government would have conducted intensive research into the economic and environmental benefits before making the decision.

“Of course, this will lower traffic and emissions,” he said.

But he believed it was not up to the Government to convince the public that the price deregulation was a positive change.

“It is important that this doesn’t influence people’s lives for the worse,” he said.