Key Questions about COP21 Climate Agreement

The headlines from the CO21 Climate Summit tell an inspiring story. Agence France-Presse reported an outbreak of “euphoria” as the international climate accord was sealed. Reuters hailed a global “turn from fossil fuels.” The Guardian headlined “a major leap for mankind.” As the euphoria of delegates at the UN climate talks in Paris fades, it is time to get down to the business of saving the planet and ask what it means for me. This time, they were. They managed to seal a pact that sets a surprisingly ambitious target for limiting global warming, reflects the vast differences between countries … Continue reading

The Challenges of Public Health and Environmental Stability

The environment and the climate are all part of our daily life. We live and interact with the environment and the climate also influences our lives by moderating and impacting our environment. Regardless of which continent one focuses one, the concerns are similar across the globe. Many, many people across the globe live off the land. A large portion of the global population is totally dependent on agriculture and livestock farming. We call this subsistence farming. Regardless of nomenclature, these lives are hinged to and dependent on farming in an environment that is rapidly changing as the temperatures rise and … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts on Public Health: Perspectives for Arab World

Climate change is not only affecting the economies of Arab world but also having detrimental impacts on the very fabric of society, through threats to public health and livelihoods. Climate change in the Arab world is also exacerbating social inequalities, hitting the rural poor the hardest. This is not a reason for complacency amongst the wealthy urban classes. Basic humanitarianism aside, history suggests that physical hardships can breed wider unrest: a body of evidence suggests that poor harvests caused by a major Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in 1783 triggered no less an event that the French Revolution. Extreme weather events … Continue reading

CO2-Caused Ocean Acidification – Causes and Consequences

“The CO2 problem” has traditionally been understood as the fact that excessive CO2 produces global warming. But near the end of the 20th century, scientists started talking about a second CO2 problem, “ocean acidification”. Ocean acidification results from the fact that about 30 percent of our CO2 emissions have been absorbed by the ocean. This absorption keeps down the warming of the atmosphere that would otherwise be produced by these emissions. Ocean acidification involves the ocean’s pH, changes in which make the water become either more alkaline or more acidic. Tests have shown that “for more than 600,000 years the … Continue reading

Carbon Capture and Storage: Prospects in GCC

Gulf Cooperation Council countries are burgeoning economies which are highly dependent on hydrocarbons to fuel their needs for economic growth. GCC nations are fully aware of the mounting consequences of increasing levels of CO­2 on the environment, mainly attributed to soaring energy demand of domestic and industrial sector. Regional countries are undertaking concrete steps and measures to reduce their carbon footprint through the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Among other options, Carbon Capture and Storage, popularly known as CCS, can be an attractive proposition for GCC nations. What is CCS Carbon capture and storage (or carbon capture and sequestration) … Continue reading

Water Scarcity in Bahrain

Bahrain is listed among the top ten countries that are likely to suffer from a water crisis in the next 25 years. The World Resources Institute (WRI) have estimated that 33 countries, half of which are in the Middle East, would suffer from a severe water crisis by 2040. According to the study that included 167 countries, the top ten countries that would face water crisis by 2040 are Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The finding shows that the Middle East is already probably the least water-secure region in the world as it … Continue reading

Why We Need to Stop Using Fossil Fuels? Understanding the True Impact

Fossil fuels have a wide range of applications including generation of electricity, transport fuels, making products like plastics, cosmetics, and even certain medicines. But why scientists and environmentalist are fighting to end the use of fossil fuels and promoting solar and wind energy instead? The damage that fossil fuel cause to the environment is affecting the entire ecosystem. The impact is disastrous and haunting for the health of our planet. These damages are in some cases easy to see and evaluate such as pollution and land degradation. However, the damage can take various forms and be hidden and difficult to measure such … Continue reading

Islamic Perspectives on COP

It is a ripe time to reflect briefly on the upcoming COP from an Islamic perspective. By now everyone is well aware of the cause of severe climatic disturbances which affect us all and the poorest and most vulnerable in particular: sheer greed and unbridled, reckless, consumption. Islam has always provided the keys to a harmonious life in which humans refuse to take more from nature than they need for their sustenance and enjoyment. Islam has repeatedly warned about the imbalances and inequalities that would arise if one were not to follow its recommendations. God created the world in balance … Continue reading

Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Perspectives

The air quality topic has taken relevance in the media lately, perhaps because 95% of the world’s population is breathing unhealthy air, or because in a year it can contribute to the deaths of more than 6 million people [1]. We are starting to realize that those beautiful sunsets which we enjoy across the Middle East are the result of pollutants and dust; and most likely each one of us know of someone with asthma or any other respiratory disease whose condition worsens under poor air quality. Poor air quality is more common in the big and developed cities instead … Continue reading

Environmental Education: Key to a Better Future

Tomorrow’s leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow’s challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and … Continue reading

Important Environmental Metrics Worth Tracking

For companies that are focused on ESG (environmental, social, governance) sustainability reporting, one of the most important things is the metrics. They help demonstrate that the report is accurate and stakeholders can use it to make the right decisions, whether for investment or buying targeted products. With the right metrics, it is also easy for companies to evaluate their progress and track goals that demonstrate their operation efficiency and impacts. There are four main areas of sustainability that companies focus on: human, economic, social, and environmental, and each comes with its own metrics. In this post, we will look at … Continue reading

Qatar’s Fight Against Climate Change

Qatar’s environmental records have always been in news, of course for the negative ones, but it has always strived to work towards reduction of GHGs emissions. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing and it seems unfair to focus on per capita emissions for a country with estimated population of 2.6 million making it the 143th most populous country on earth. (For climate talks, that is heresy). This may sound harsh, especially since Qatar’s contribution to global warming is tiny compared with the United States, China or India. In recent years, Qatar is making itself a … Continue reading