DUBAI. MAY 21, 2013: Tackling the carbon footprint produced by events held in the Middle East sparked a lively debate at a professional sound and light industry summit in Dubai today (TUES).
During a panel discussion at PALME Middle East 2013, experts looked at whether the massive amount of energy needed to put on everything from spectacular launch parties to concerts and shows can be justified.
The Middle East is often cited as a region which needs to address its carbon footprint with reports stating it has doubled in the last 25-30- years. In some countries the footprint is said to be almost 60 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person.
The event industry is a significant energy consumer through the use of huge lighting rigs, large-scale sound equipment and temporary air conditioning units.
A.B Sonu, a respected lighting designer who works across the Middle East and India, believes those within the industry must look at bringing in the latest electric-powered technology.
“There needs to be action on reducing carbon footprint as soon as possible,” he said. “There is the problem of a lack of understanding in the region that new technology can do this - although cost is obviously a factor.
“The cost of diesel here is low so there is a reliance still on that for power which I suppose is at the centre of the issue here. “And when it comes to major concerts there is a reluctance among some big rock groups to make a shift from what they are used to.”
Debate moderator Nige Holborough pointed to research which suggests the problem is not that significant. “There is data that says if all the people who come to a big concert stayed at home they would actually consume as much power so is the carbon footprint from events in the Middle East really that problematic?”
A large concert produces a carbon footprint of several thousand tonnes but new technology can reduce it – especially through lighting.
During the debate a representative of Clay Paky, who make lighting equipment for the Middle East, said the latest designs could reduce this “by half”. PALME Middle East, held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, is the annual gathering of the region's professional sound and light industry and this year once again attracted exhibitors from across the region.
Running until the end of the week, visitors are able to look at the latest in everything from laser show technology to cutting-edge sound equipment.
Alongside PALME is the Middle East EVENT Show which brings together event leaders across three days. This year record numbers of visitors are expected at the exhibitions and for the series of lectures and discussion panels.
On the agenda is the increasing importance of social media in attracting audiences, security and the type of events which can succeed in the Gulf market.