The green, green grass of... Dubai?

People love Dubai. From Naomi Watts to Demi Moore, stars flock to the city - Brad Pitt thinks it's so great he's even working on another hotel there. And what's not to love? There's sunshine, luxury, glamour ... not to mention ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum building the tallest building in the world (though we're not allowed to know exactly how high in case somebody Trumps it).

So what's wrong with me that I thought Dubai was a soulless building site? The uneasy social mix made me deeply... uneasy... and the golf courses, indoor ski-slopes (kept at -4C when it's a molton 48C outside - see the video below) and endless island building, seemed nothing but cynical tourist traps. And a testament to the grand scale of our ecological folly.

Obviously this is something Sheikh Mohammed thinks too, because his latest plan is to transform Dubai into an eco-destination, cutting carbon emissions in the hospitality sector by 20% by 2011. And when you think just how much energy must go into Dubai tourism - with its vast race courses, lush golf courses and all-round biggest-tallest-costliest formula - 20% will be a big saving. But there's still a staggering amount being burned up. If Dubai ever hopes to pass itself off as an eco-destination, it needs to do its green-washing at a significantly lower temperature.

more blog posts