Canadian expert scoffs at plan to tow icebergs to UAE

Reducing consumption better idea, professor says

Canadian expert scoffs at plan to tow icebergs to UAE

World Bulletin / News Desk

A plan to tow icebergs from the Antarctic to provide fresh drinking water for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is “absurd”, a Canadian environmental expert said Monday.

The UAE’s National Advisor Bureau floated the idea, but University of Toronto professor Miriam Diamond told the CTV News that reducing water use would be more effective than towing icebergs.

“I think it is an unwise idea,” Diamond said. “This is a stopgap measure with dubious [chances of] success.”

She also said the plan, which would see icebergs dragged 5,700 miles (9,200 kilometers) across the Indian Ocean to Dubai, would likely cause the chunks of ice to melt, break apart and have serious side effects.

“Locally, it will create a zone of very cold fresh water in an oceanic system which is not friendly … for the animals and the plants living in the region,” Diamond said.

It would also contribute to global warming because the number of ships needed to tow an iceberg would burn up a lot of fossil fuels, adding to the problem of melting polar ice, she said.

“The dirtiest fuel available is saved for ocean-going ships,” Diamond said. “And why are these icebergs available for towing? Because of climate change.”

In 2007, Diamond was named Canadian Environmental Scientist of the Year by Canadian Geographic magazine, according to the University of Toronto.

There is no question the UAE needs water, since it receives an average of only 4 inches (94 millimeters) per year and its groundwater has an expected lifespan of another 15 years, according to media reports when the National Advisor Bureau first made public the icebergs idea in May.

The UAE also reportedly has the highest water consumption per capital in the world.

That provides the solution, Diamond said.

“Reduce your demand,” she said. “Get a handle on it.”

Diamond also suggested Dubai is its own worst enemy because billionaires enriched by oil and gas have constructed a “very elaborate water-rich city which is completely unsustainable. It’s true Disneyland,” she said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Haziran 2017, 10:08
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