The UN Climate Change Conference, currently held in Glasgow, is happening at a time when all countries, including the Sultanate of Oman, are facing the consequences of climate change.
The climate change consequences have been serious for the Sultanate of Oman, regularly facing one or two tropical storms, sometimes even a cyclone, every year, leading to floods and damages to houses and vehicles.
Summers have also been getting hotter, with temperatures consistently touching 45 degrees Celsius and above for days. With a vast coastline bordering both the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, the Sultanate has been regularly facing the wrath of tropical storms since 2007.
Cyclone Gonu that hit the country in 2007 and inflicted damages, was the first in several decades.
According to Tropical Cyclone Research and Review, “Tropical cyclones are not uncommon over the Arabian Sea. However, many of these storms rarely reach the coastal areas of Sultanate of Oman with tropical cyclone intensity, and from historical data, they very rarely enter the Sea of Oman. Gonu was the first destructive tropical cyclone to affect Muscat after the 1890 cyclone.”
Since then, the governorates of South Sharqiyah, Al Wusta, and Dhofar have been on the frontline in the battle against the low-pressure systems, the cyclone Gonu and even the recent Cyclone Shaheen have shown that the northern parts of the country are not spared from extreme weather conditions.
“Advancements made in weather forecasting have helped to save human lives by activating the emergency or disaster management mechanisms, but how can we protect immovable properties like houses, offices or strategic infrastructure like roads,” said sources in the Sultanate of Oman Meteorology and the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Information Technology (MoTCIT).
It may be noted that in the past decade, MoTCIT or the erstwhile Ministry of Transport (MoT) is forced to spend thousands of riyals in restoring the road connectivity after tropical storms that often lead to floods and heavy rains.
Weather experts have warned that evacuation of people or shifting human habitation from the coastal areas may make sense under the circumstances due to increased frequencies of floods, but in the long term, it will create a demographic imbalance and pressure on infrastructure due to increased density.
Despite its dependence on revenues from oil, Sultanate of Oman has only to gain from the measures to reduce carbon emissions and minimise the consequences of climate change and global warming.
The Sultanate of Oman delegation at the conference, led by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Ministry of Agriculture,Fisheries and Water Resources and the Environment Authority (EA) supported the measures needed to reduce the adverse impact of climate change, especially limiting the annual temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century from current predictions of over 2.5 degrees Celsius.
The Sultanate of Oman supported the view that human behaviour is one of the main causes of climate change and increased frequency and severity.