Demand side management opportunities, framework, and implications for sustainable development in resource-rich countries : case study Qatar

Sahin, Ebubekir S. and Bayram, I. Safak and Koc, Muammer (2019) Demand side management opportunities, framework, and implications for sustainable development in resource-rich countries : case study Qatar. Journal of Cleaner Production, 241. 118332. ISSN 0959-6526

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    Over the last decades, global consumption of energy and environmental resources have been rapidly increasing due to advances in the production and transportation of goods, as well as reduced barriers to global trade markets. This trend raised sustainable consumption issues because of inefficient and wasteful use of resources, especially in resource-rich countries with high purchasing power and subsidized tariffs offered to residents. It is also well-known that resources abundance tends to lower financial development and limit productivity growth and social development. On the other hand, there is a growing acceptance that supply-side policies need to be complemented by demand-side management to support sustainable cleaner production and remedy aforementioned adverse impacts. In this study, we present the results of an investigation on demand-side management (DSM) opportunities and a framework developed for Qatar as a representative of an emerging resource-rich countries and discuss implications for cleaner production. The rationale behind is that Qatar is a commodity-dependent developing country, who, during the last five years, has experienced a population growth of 35%, and an increase in electricity and water demand of 46% and 35%, respectively. Similarly, during the same period, the national vehicle fleet has grown by more than twofold. These figures have ranked Qatar at the top of the per-capita energy, carbon, and water consumption list in the world and increased environmental vulnerability and reduced climate resilience. To that end, the objectives of this study are to: (1) construct a DSM framework tailored to the needs of resource-rich country like Qatar from economic, social, environmental, and technical aspects; (2) present, analyze, and discuss the results of a survey that reveals the perceptions, attitudes, and responses of local residents towards the applicability of DSM policies; and (3) discuss methods and solutions to achieve cleaner energy consumption. The conducted survey covered electricity, water, and transportation sectors and showed that residents have low awareness about their consumption habits, but they have high willingness to reduce their consumption levels. In the last section, we present the survey results and discussions as a reference for policy-makers to promote the most promising DSM options in Qatar. To the best of authors' knowledge, this is the first survey-based study conducted in the Gulf Cooperation Council region where a significant portion of world's oil and natural gas resources are extracted. Therefore, the results could provide insights to other resource-rich countries with similar characteristics to devise more efficient policies for promoting welfare-enhancing and sustainable consumption behavior.