World's first carbon-free city

Get ready for the world's first carbon-free city -- smack-dab in the center of the oil-rich Middle East. Business 2.0 Magazine reports.

By Susanna Hamner, Business 2.0 Magazine writer-reporter

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- It may seem strange that the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the planet's largest suppliers of oil, is planning to build the world's first carbon-neutral city.

But in fact, it makes a lot of financial sense. The 3.7-square-mile city, called Masdar, will cut its electricity bill by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy, while a total ban on cars within city walls should reduce the long-term health costs associated with smog.

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NO CARS ALLOWED: Masdar will be filled with shaded streets to encourage walking. A solar-powered transit system will take you to the airport.

Masdar is still on the drawing board -- construction begins in January, with a very tentative completion date of 2009 -- but the result will be watched closely around the world.

"If they can construct a zero-carbon city in this climate, you can do it anywhere," says Richard Young, a research manager with SustainLane, which evaluates sustainable cities and products. "It will have tremendous economic impact."

Indeed, all companies that sign up to take part -- a list that so far includes British Petroleum (Charts), Fiat, General Electric (Charts, Fortune 500), and Mitsubishi -- will get hefty carbon-credit bonuses, redeemable on the world's two major carbon exchanges. Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.