Dubai — Fenced off by a wall of trees, about 20km from the high rises towering over Dubai’s city centre, there lies a small solar-powered settlement aiming to become a green oasis in the desert.

Renowned for its glitzy skyscrapers, air-con-blasting shopping malls and indoor skiing facilities, the emirate of Dubai has long been the antithesis of sustainability to environmentalists. But the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to change that reputation, with a range of projects aimed at having more than 40% of the country’s energy come from renewable sources and cutting consumption by the same margin by 2050...

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