Ethical Green Consumerism of Energy in Bahrain: The Responsibility of Reducing Energy Use and GHG Emissions

Ethical Green Consumerism of Energy in Bahrain: The Responsibility of Reducing Energy Use and GHG Emissions

Hanan Naser (American University of Bahrain, Bahrain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0272-3.ch006
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Since ethical green consumerism plays a vital role in stemming global warming, the vast amount of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) produced in Bahrain has started to bring several ethical and moral issues. As a developing country, the population of Bahrain has lately increased rapidly driving more consumption for energy. In addition, as a tiny economy that aims at improving human quality of life, the use of energy has also been doubled in order to boost economic growth, where the focus on energy efficiency and conservation have been neglected. To tackle this issue, this study provides a review on energy consumption behavior and GHG emissions in Bahrain including sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), and particulate matters (PM). The key findings empathize that Bahrain's per capita CO2 emissions were twice the average of the high-income country, and almost five times higher than the world average. Therefore, a significant technological and mental shift towards ethical green consumerism is required.
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It is argued in literature that the developed countries have not only taken governmental responsibility towards ethical energy consumerism through energy conservation policies, however, the use and daily demand of energy by individuals are decreasing due to their awareness and ethical accountability to reduce greenhouse emission.

On the other hand, this is not the case in most of the developing countries. It is considered that the main duties of these governments are different at this stage where they are still keen about improving human quality of life, which means greater use of energy. In addition, some studies such as Asafu-Adjaye (2000) and Lee (2005), have found that using energy conservation policies are harmful for developing countries’ economic growth. This has in fact not only affected the countries’ policies, but also individual use of energy and the use of energy efficient technology in the industrial sector.

The human impact on the environment has often been expressed as a product of population, per capita consumption, and technology. In mathematical terms, the equation may be represented as follows: I (impact) = P (population) x A (affluence, or per capita consumption) x T (technology).1 The core message of this equation is that three factors contribute to our environmental impact-population, consumption, and technology-and that no effort to reduce that impact is likely to succeed unless all three-including consumption-are addressed.

Under the light of the above, the important message that can be grasped is focusing on the relevancy to the global warming and climate change. Precisely, the latest estimation of the United Nations (UN) reveals that the global population has almost reached more than six billion and will peak at a point of time after 2050 to be between nine and ten billion. Although it will decline slowly after that, this huge change in population is making the climate change harder to be addressed (United Nations, 2004). Therefore, the challenge of feeding, clothing, housing, and employing this many people are enormous. It is at least plausible to envision the end of global population growth.

Accordingly, there is a high demand not only on having innovated technology that aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also having aware people that consume energy ethically in order to help in controlling this crucial problem. People need to understand and deeply believe that their individual ethical consumerism does really matter (Kok et al. 2008). In December 2008, the European Parliament approved legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, to increase renewable energy usage by 20%, and to cut energy consumption through improved energy efficiency by 20%.2 Even in the United States, unstable energy prices and the current recession have created an environment where it is possible to discuss reduced energy consumption (Dernbach, 2007).

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