Here we are again. Another global conference focused on climate change that will require flying in thousands of people from all over the world. Yes, to Qatar, of all places, which by some accounts has the world’s highest carbon output per capita. But this little energetic hub in the Middle East is the perfect place to host COP18 for just that reason--let’s start embedding some sustainability thinking in a region that has overlooked it so far.

Now the event itself is looking to cut its carbon emissions. The efforts start with the Qatar National Convention Center, situated just outside Doha’s massive Education City. A 3,500 square meter (37,600 square feet) solar array will provide about 12 percent of the center’s power needs; one reason why the convention center is LEED Gold certified. And the UN Secretariat tasked with running the meeting and its logistics will offset some of COP18’s carbon footprint--hugely necessary considering 95 percent of the event’s impact is because of air travel. The UN, however, is focused on reducing the use of paper--COP18 participants voluntarily choose whether they wish to purchase carbon offsets to cancel out their emissions.

We don’t know if COP18 will achieve anything noteworthy. But if the event can nudge Qatar’s leadership and people to be more conscious about the impact their oil and gas industry--and their lifestyle--has on the planet, that in itself could be a step in the right direction. And in the end, we need to engage the Middle East--after all, the countries in the Gulf region have the funds to help steer us out of this mess.

Photo courtesy QNCC.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.