Climate change is a very common phrase nowadays, but do we really understand what it means, the extent of earth damages that are attributed to it? And what can the world do about it?
While sipping some hot tea at a nice cozy gathering, someone I know made a triggering comment about the current weather. She mentioned that as the years pass, and the closer we are to summertime, the weather gets cooler and more tolerable. If you’re new to Dubai, let me tell you that summer in Dubai is not tolerable at all; it’s hot and humid and you would wish you could migrate to another planet, preferably Pluto. As this young lady shared her thought, another commented that some day very soon we might even witness snowfall. Bear in mind that these women are not remotely scientists or meteorologists.
So the question is: can climate change be as beautiful as people think? While some Europeans are happy to have warmer days, and Middle Easterners are happy to have cooler days, scientists are sounding their emergency alarms and governments are making major decisions regarding the climate.
As much as it’s great that we get to enjoy cooler winters in some ways, many people fail to see that this cool weather comes with a price; melting icebergs, the rise in seawater levels, burning forests, more droughts and floods, and many more disastrous environmental changes. Most, if not all, of these changes are linked together caused by the Butterfly Effect.
Take the melting ice glaciers and ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere, for example. It’s a fairly simple example that shows how one element could possibly lead to the change of other things. The northern region such as the North Pole, Alaska, and Greenland is known for being coated with a thick layer of ice. The thick layer reflects sunlight to reduce the Earth’s heat; this is called the Albedo effect. The use of fossil fuel alone in factories and transportation releases greenhouse gases which make the weather warmer; the warm temperature causes the ice to melt very slowly, making the Albedo effect less effective. Having an ineffective Albedo effect means the ice is no longer reflecting the necessary amount of sunlight, which consequently makes the earth warmer; this is what is called Global Warming.
The warmer it gets, the more ice will melt. The more ice will melt, the further warmer it gets. And on top of that, the more ice melts, the higher the seawater level rises. The rise of sea water levels can cause flooding of wetlands, the destruction of crops and agricultural soil, contaminate drinking water, and also threaten the life of many animals.
Another effect of global warming is the melting of the permafrost. The permafrost is a frozen layer of ground that is never supposed to get warm. It serves as a storehouse of carbon, which, if released could accelerate climate change and global warming; this puts us in a vicious cycle of trying to go against the change.
The given examples are just a fraction of how big the issue is. This is without mentioning the spread of wildfires that could lead to toxic air, acidic water, and the extinction of different species. Assuming this issue is left unattended, we could easily lose planet earth due to natural disasters and toxic air.
Believers have taken the steps towards trying to save our planet by recycling, reusing, and limiting the use of plastic that causes many environmental issues once burned. Individual effort is very important, but not as effective as when governments make a move. The United Nations has flagged Climate Change to being a highly disastrous issue, and has urged governments to take a stance for more than a decade now.
Paris Climate Conference
In 2015, the Paris Climate Conference was a monumental event in tackling the Climate Change issue, as it was the first ever legally binding environmental deal. The agreement aims to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, hold the increase of the global average temperature to below 2 °C, achieve transparency and global stock take where governments meet every 5 years to set realistic targets and to report to one another and the public on their implementation, increase cities’ abilities to adapt to the impact of climate change, and create a consistent pathway for financial flow towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of the meeting, the agreement was adopted by all 195 UN state members; committing to reduce their greenhouse gases emission and carbon output. Signing the agreement started on April 22, 2016, and 180 states signed the agreement on the first day.
Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050
In 2015, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum has launched the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. The strategy aims to turn Dubai into a global center for clean energy and green economy. The government’s allocated AED100 billion in investments in Green Fund and AED50 billion for the second phase of the Solar Parks by 2030. The strategy aims to have the energy from clean sources to reach 75% of the Emirates’ energy.
The Dubai government has not been working towards providing renewal energy on a city-wide scale alone; it has been urging its residents to use its Shams Dubai smart initiative where solar panels are installed by an approved consultant or contractor to supply the houses with energy. This creates a suitable source of electricity not only for each individual house but also for the government. The Surplus energy produced will be exported to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s grid. According to DEWA, “an offset between exported and imported electricity units is conducted and the customer account is settled based on this offset” (WAM, 2015).
Acting against climate change is not limited to governments and corporations; we have an obligation as citizens of this planet to protect it. Although some of the actions might seem simple and small, if everyone works towards them the impact would be greater than expected. Recycling, reusing, and limiting the use of plastic are always great ways of protecting our planet, but there’s more we can do. Emerging technology such as electric cars, solar panels on houses, cold-water washing machines are great ways of reducing greenhouse gases emissions.
The issue of climate change is very broad that one article cannot do it justice; the effects are endless, the history is long, the governments’ reactions are different yet share the same goal, and the individual effort list is long. But in a nutshell, climate change cannot bring any good.
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DEWA invites residential and building owners to use Shams Dubai. WAM. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.
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United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Sept. 2016