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The latest round of United Nations climate change talks kicked off in the oil-rich Middle East nation of Qatar earlier this week. The decision to host the annual summit in the Qatari capital of Doha is ironic since the city has the the largest carbon footprint per person in the world.
Even though Qatar has been described as a “country in transition” (the Persian Gulf emirate has only been independent since 1971, and it has been governed by Amir Hamad since 1995, when he deposed his father in a bloodless coup) it is still the world’s richest nation by Gross Domestic Product per capita, home to countless luxury hotels, a five-star airline, and the third-largest reserves of natural gas in the world.
So what can the 17,000 people from almost 200 countries flying in to Doha for the two-week conference expect?
The world's third largest natural gas reserves in the world are sitting under a country smaller than Connecticut.
Being rich has become a birthright for native Qataris. The government redistributes money from its resources to citizens, resulting in the record $88,221 GDP per capita.
Qatari citizens also get other perks like free electricity and water, which offers little incentive to cut back on usage.
In 2008, Qataris used nearly triple the amount of carbon than the average American, at 49 metric tons per person.
Only 15 per cent of Qatar's 1.7 million residents are citizens; the rest are foreign workers, ranging from Western financiers and energy executives to temporary laborers from India, Pakistan, and other Asian countries.
The capital city of Doha is filled with striking architecture and luxury hotels. Here you're looking at the Doha Sheraton.
With money has come a vibrant nightlife. One popular location is the Sky View Bar at La Cigale Hotel.
Alcohol is illegal in the ~75 per cent Muslim Qatar, but you can still purchase it at certain hotels as long as you have a permit. Also illegal to import: pork, drugs, and pornography.
Qatar is very young and largely male. Only 1.5 per cent of the population is older than 65, and there are 1.99 males to every female because of the high number of imported laborers.
Things aren't quite as great for women. Women in Qatar are permitted to drive and have more equality than in nations like Saudi Arabia, though many still dress in traditional garb. Also, women aren't allowed to exercise next to men in certain parts of Doha.
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. The country expects to spend $65 billion preparing for the tournament, including building and air-conditioning new stadiums.
Camel racing plays a major role in Qatari culture. Adults weigh too much to ride the camels, so they used to use children, but after this was outlawed in 2004 owners have used small robotic jockeys.
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, non-Muslims are also expected to observe. People seen eating, smoking, drinking, singing, or displaying physical affection in public can be arrested.
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