Climate Change: How risky to Qatar and the world
Climate Change. The two words that are hitting global headlines daily; causing huge concern for some and potentially ignored by many. The World Economic Forum (WEF) suggest we are sleep walking into a catastrophe, whilst others believe innovation, collaboration and swift action now, could reverse the trend. In the recent Sustainability Digest, the Al-Attiyah Foundation explored the current situation and asks: how risky is climate change to Qatar and the world?
In January this year, the WEF released its Global Risks Report 2019 on the major threats to the world economy. For the third year in a row, the report stated that environmental-related risks account for three of the top five global risks by likelihood, and four of the top five risks by economic impact, namely: failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; water crises and natural disasters. Finally, the report bleakly concluded that of all the risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly not doing enough.
The literature on climate change risks in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region has focused mainly on the issues of temperature increase and water scarcity, as both phenomena have been directly affecting the populations. However, there are lesser known issues, such as sea level rise. This is a risk to the population and national security challenge for Qatar, since 96% of the population are living on coastal areas – with most in the capital city of Doha. Many coastal cities in the region would also be flooded if sea levels rise.
In the digest, the Al-Attiyah Foundation also explored the implications and challenges of the climatic impacts already evident in many regions of the world, with countless nations focusing on adaptation. Adaptation is the process in which nations adjust to the current effects of climate change while preparing for future challenges. It refers to the practical actions, strategies, and processes that seek to lower the risks posed by these changes, as well as make the most beneficial opportunities, such as longer planting seasons or increased crop production in certain areas. Climate change mitigation, denotes actions that limit the magnitude and/or rate of long-term climate change and generally involves a reduction in human (anthropogenic) emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The ever-growing threat of climate change requires strategic intervention on both fronts – adaptation and mitigation.
An abundance of evidence demonstrates that there is a need to urgently assess vulnerabilities and identify adaptation options. Early planning can help to reduce further, the adverse impacts of climate change. Governments, society and individuals must work together to create a sustainable future which will inevitably require changes in behavior, innovative technologies and practices. The full Sustainability Digest can be downloaded from the Al-Attiyah Foundation website here: https://www.abhafoundation.org/sustainability_html