What is it about?

The aim of this research is to investigate various issues related to oil consumption and environmental impacts in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, in relation to population, climate change impacts, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN’s SDGs), and ecological and carbon footprints. The GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) are almost entirely dependent on fossil energy sources (oil and natural gas) domestically, industrially, commercially, economically, and transportation-wise. Although the total population of the GCC countries is around 60 million, making up only 0.76% of the world’s population (8 billion), they do consume 5.15 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil, forming nearly 5.8% of the world’s daily consumption, which is around 88.4 million bbl/d as of 2021. Moreover, daily per capita consumption of oil in the GCC countries is about 0.09 barrels, while it is about 0.06 barrels in the USA. These figures indicate that the GCC’s countries combined and per capita, although not industrialized and small in population, consume large quantities of oil, compared to other countries of the world that are industrialized and/or densely populated, such as the USA, India, Japan, Russia, and Germany. The high rates of oil consumption in the GCC countries, associated with the highest per capita ecological and carbon footprints worldwide, have led to negative impacts on the environment, climate, and public health. The results of this work show that some of the GCC countries have the highest per capita ecological and carbon footprints. Thus, the GCC countries should effectively reduce their dependence on fossil energy sources and gradually replace them with renewable energy sources, especially photovoltaic (PV) solar energy. Furthermore, the statistics presented in this article and the outcomes reached uncover that the GCC countries lag behind with regard to various indicators of the UN’s SDGs. This implies the GCC countries are not taking adequate actions to encounter environmental problems, in order to fulfill some of the UN’s SDGs by 2030.

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Why is it important?

Highlights • Investigates energy and environmental issues in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the Middle East region, West Asia, as being considered, globally, a very important, strategic, and volatile region. These countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. • Discloses that the Middle East region, including the GCC countries, produces more oil than any other world’s region, accounting for just under a third of the global oil production in 2020; at 31.3%, constituting a slightly larger share of global production than it was 10 years ago. • Investigates the oil consumption in the GCC countries, in comparison with other countries that are much greater in population and/or industrial advancements. • Contributes to the areas of energy and the environment, with views affecting strategic environmental assessment of the efficiency of energy conversion systems to support energy and environmental policies. • Contributes to views on, and deeper understanding of, climate change impacts, ecological and carbon footprints, pollution control, energy system efficiencies, and energy management, in terms of optimization, economic control, and pollution control. • Focuses on the usage of fossil energy sources (oil and natural gas), with deep views on renewable energy sources and sustainable development, taking into account population and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN’s SDGs), as well as the ecological and carbon footprints. • Indicates that the GCC’s high rates of oil consumption have resulted in negative impacts on the environment and the climate, in terms of high ecological and carbon footprints, considering the fact that some of the GCC’s countries have the highest per capita ecological and carbon footprints. • Suggests, as part of a decarbonization strategy, that the GCC countries need to accelerate their efforts towards achieving the UN’s SDGs and climate change performance. • Concludes that the GCC countries should reduce their dependence on fossil energy sources and, thus, gradually shift to renewable energy sources, particularly photovoltaic solar energy.


This paper provides deep analyses of the energy status in the Arabian/Persian Gulf region, with perspectives about the fossil energy sources that the six Arab Gulf States are depending on. Meanwhile the use of renewable energy sources is down-to-Earth. The paper also investigates the issue of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (UN's SDGs) and how the Gulf States are still far away from fulfilling any of the SDGs by 2030, according to the UN. This paper is highly important to professionals dealing with energy (fossil and renewables), research scientists, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, politicians, policy and decision makers, strategists, energy industries, climatologists, and environmentalists, as well as health and nutrition specialists.

Prof. Dr. Hilmi S. Salem

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Harnessing the energy transition from total dependence on fossil to renewable energy in the Arabian Gulf region, considering population, climate change impacts, ecological and carbon footprints, and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainable Earth Reviews, September 2023, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1186/s42055-023-00057-4.
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