Per capita, the United Arab Emirates has one of the highest energy consumption levels in the world. With air conditioning to cool the fierce heat, desalination plants to provide drinking water and a large oil and gas industry, carbon dioxide levels have doubled in the last 30 years.
But just a few kilometres away from downtown Abu Dhabi a very different kind of development is taking place. Free of skyscrapers and free of cars, Masdar City is a growing city of institutes, businesses, shops and homes, with clean technology at its heart. Construction began in 2008, and when it finishes organisers hope the city will accommodate 90,000 people – 40,000 residents and 50,000 daily commuters.