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Dubai and its White Elephants
March 2010
On November 25, 2009, Dubai World, the wholly owned subsidiary of the Emirate of Dubai announced that it would request a 6-month standstill on all debt servicing starting December 2009. The announcement effectively gave notice that the company’s debt would be rescheduled. The announcement came on the eve of Eid Al-Adha holiday during which Dubai banks were closed from November 26 to 29. For these four worrisome days, at least to Dubai’s panicked lenders and investors, the company maintained complete silence. To read more...
Abu Dhabi's Nuclear Power Plant Folly
June 2010

In December 2009, Abu Dhabi awarded South Korean companies a four-reactor BOT contract to generate 5,600 MW of electricity. In two contradictions, the emirate announced in February 2008 the plan to build Masdar City, a zero carbon, zero waste, and 100 percent renewable energy powered town; and in July 2009, it became the secretariat headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This article argues that Abu Dhabi's non-representative, non-participatory governance enables a poorly informed ruling elite enjoying rentier economic circumstances to reach such decisions. It concludes that the Masdar spirit and IRENA's principles require Abu Dhabi to abandon nuclear energy for safe solar and wind power. To read more...