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Environmental concerns pose a serious threat to sustainable development in both developing and developed countries. But the environmental challenges facing the oil-rich economies of the Gulf are especially dire because of their excessive dependence on conventional energy sources to power electricity, transportation systems and water desalination activities. Decades of domestic oil subsidies have encouraged inefficient production and consumption of conventional energy, thereby contributing to high and rising pollution and environmental degradation with significant social and economic consequences. At the same time, more than 90 % of government revenue comes from oil, which is currently the major source of financing development programmes, which cannot be sustained due to the exhaustible nature of oil as well as its increased usage in domestic consumption. Even so, increased reliance on oil has lulled policy makers into a false sense of complacency, with little or no efforts being made to diversify the economy away from hydrocarbon and towards manufacturing and services. Equally, these economies are yet to pursue a more balanced approach to energy policy.
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