With global warming, the Gulf countries face the specter of an unlivable climate

With global warming, the Gulf countries face the specter of an unlivable climate

Sameer painfully plies the streets of Dubai on his small motorbike in the hottest hours of summer. It is 45 degrees in the shade and with global warming, the temperatures in the Gulf are likely to become unlivable, causing a belated awakening.

“I work from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in this heat” with “a break every three hours”, explains with an embarrassed smile this Pakistani delivery man, employee of a mobile delivery application in this big city of the Emirates.

In Dubai, where the heat is accentuated by high humidity, Emiratis and expatriates are fleeing the scorching summer temperatures in droves. Those who stay spend their time in ultraclimatized places and rely on a battalion of delivery people to minimize their outings.

And the situation is likely to become more and more critical. With global warming, “the level of heat stress will increase significantly” in several Gulf cities, says Elfatih Eltahir, professor of hydrology and climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Towards the end of the century, with the combination of ever warmer temperatures – beyond 50 degrees – and humidity, some localities could experience episodes of “heat stress incompatible with human survival,” said the researcher at the ‘AFP.

Directly concerned, the United Arab Emirates have launched an ecological strategy for 2050 which aims in particular to increase the share of clean energies from 25 to 50% and to reduce the carbon footprint of electricity production by 70%.

– Take the subject to heart –

“There is more and more interest in this subject in the UAE, but we are still waiting to see large companies take this issue to heart,” Tanzeed Alam, director of Earth Matters Consulting, a consulting firm, told AFP. Dubai-based environmental consultant.

In the Emirates, for several years now, planes have been used to seed clouds, with the aim of causing and then capturing rain. And soon, drones could be used for the same purpose.

The IPCC estimated in a report published in early August that the threshold of + 1.5 ° C warming compared to the pre-industrial era will be reached around 2030, ten years earlier than in previous projections, threatening humanity with new “unprecedented” disasters.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this report should “spell the end” for fossil fuels.

The Gulf countries, very dependent on the exploitation of hydrocarbons, have long had bad press on the environmental issue, but in recent years have sought to change their discourse to restore their international image, but also to diversify their economies.

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, for example, has built a solar power plant, presented as one of the largest on the planet.

The first exporter of crude oil in the world, Saudi Arabia, which has embarked on vast reforms to diversify its economy, has announced several major ecological projects, also focusing on solar energy.

– “Cool the water tanks” –

For nine years, Mohammed Abdelaal has been interested in renewable energies. He is the founder of a start-up specializing in a technology “which makes it possible to cool water reservoirs during the hottest periods of summer using only solar energy”.

According to him, his company Silent Power has seen demand increase this summer – particularly hot – in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.

“We have long and strong hours of sunshine”, he emphasizes, which facilitates the production of “clean, sustainable and inexpensive energy”.

In Kuwait, another Gulf oil monarchy, Khaled Jamal al-Falih has decided to run his entire house on solar power.

“Today, in Kuwait, a person who has an errand can only go out after 6:00 p.m. and must use an air-conditioned car to get to an air-conditioned place,” he told AFP.

The once widespread idea in this country of being able to escape the reality of climate change has, he insisted, “become impossible”.

aem-burs / rm / vg / sw / alc

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