Fossil fuels are not yet questioned substantially in the Middle East. The region will be badly affected by extreme heat and volatile fossil fuel prices, but radical change away from fossil fuels seems impossible, because fossil-dependent elite discourses dominate. Confrontational campaigning does not work in the region and Western NGOs have shied away from it. We pursue an innovative strategy of using language and framing to make a fossil fuel exit seem inevitable. This project develops that approach to start building towards a more ambitious and radical energy transition agenda. Because theregion has been neglected by climate philanthropy and this line of work is still relatively exploratory, it has been difficult to secure funding for it. In 2022/23 three big international events (COP27 in Egypt, FIFA World Cup in Qatar, COP28 inUAE) will draw attention to the region and provide an opportunity to spread and deepen progressive discourses.
LINGO has conducted preliminary research, summarized in a 2021 report, identifying key gaps in climate and energy discourse in the region (avoiding discussions of ambitious emission reductions, optimistic fossil fuel conversations, lack of
Islamic discourse, missing academic terminology) and proposed new terms in Arabic, guided by these gaps. Additionally, we have produced a report on “Post-Gas Qatar”, translated the LINGO website, a report and 4 animations on fossil gas into Arabic.
In this project, we aim to spread this “new language” on climate and energy transitions together with key stakeholders, to shape a post-fossil mindset and open new horizons for the region. We want the Middle East to wake up to the climate emergency and raise the profile of fossil endgame thinking. As a major exporter of cheap oil and gas, increased climate ambitions in the region will have important ramifications for Europe’s and the world’s energy transition.