Monday, September 25, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 9, 1445 H
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Climate change won’t just disappear

Cities, hosting billions of people, are responsible for a major part of human-caused emissions. As a result, they will face increasing socio-economic impacts, the brunt of which will be faced by the most vulnerable populations

We all know that climate change is happening. We know that the atmosphere is warming. We also know that it is happening even more quickly than we feared. In some cases, weather patterns, climates and natural environments are changing.

We also know that all these are the result of human actions! No corner of the globe is immune from the devastating consequences of climate change! Greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs, and fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels, after a temporary drop due to lockdowns, pointing to a huge gap between aspiration and reality.

Cities, hosting billions of people, are responsible for up to 70 per cent of human-caused emissions: they will face increasing socio-economic impacts, the brunt of which will be faced by the most vulnerable populations.

“Climate science is clear: we are heading in the wrong direction”, declares a major, multi-agency UN climate science report released in the second week of September.

If the world reaches a climate “tipping point”, we will be faced with irreversible changes to the climate system. The report says that this cannot be ruled out: the past seven years were the warmest on record, and there is almost a 50-50 chance that, in the next five years, the annual mean temperature will temporarily be 1.5°C higher than the 1850-1900 average.

Disasters linked to climate and weather extremes have always been part of our Earth’s system. But they are becoming more frequent and intense as the world warms. No continent is left untouched, with heat waves, droughts, typhoons, and hurricanes causing mass destruction around the world.

The authors of the report point to the recent, devastating floods in Pakistan, which have seen up to a third of the country underwater, as an example of the extreme weather events in different parts of the world this year.

Other examples include prolonged and severe droughts in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States, wildfires, and major storms.

Global fossil CO2 emissions in 2021 returned to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 after falling by 5.4 per cent in 2020 due to widespread lockdowns. Data shows that global CO2 emissions in the first five months of 2022 are 1.2 per cent above the levels recorded during the same period in 2019, driven by increases in the United States, India and most European countries.

We have the knowledge and the technology to reduce our impact on the climate and ease the pressures on the world's most vulnerable places, people and wildlife. We just need to make it happen.

In the Sultanate of Oman, says its Second Nationally Determined Contribution report by the Civil Aviation Authority, the country has a heightened degree of awareness and concern about global warming and its adverse impacts though it is one of the most vulnerable countries in West Asia to the adverse impacts of climate change.

“Climate Change is at the forefront of public and government consciousness due to the accelerated pace of Changing climatic patterns being experienced in Oman”, the report claims. Accordingly, the government has developed a national strategy for adaptation and mitigation of climate change from 2020-2040 to accelerate climate action's pace and scale.

With serious structural reforms and transformative policies, Oman has already laid the groundwork for a low-carbon economy and shift to low-emission sustainable development pathways over the last five years.

It has also developed a comprehensive 2040 Vision policy to further liberalise and diversify the economy by increasing investments in tourism, financial services, and port logistics. Additionally, the National Energy Strategy established an audacious goal of generating a significant portion of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

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