Saturday, Jun 17, 2017

The UAE has yet again reaffirmed its commitment to address the challenges that climate change and global warning pose. It has unveiled the UAE National Climate Change Plan, which will seek to steer the country, guiding it towards a climate resilient, sustainable economy that will protect the environment and ensure a high-quality of life for future generations.

Climate change and global warming are wreaking havoc with coral reefs facing the brunt. Corals are being severely bleached, threatening sea life at an alarming rate. There was an underwater heatwave in 1998 triggered by El Nino. Sixteen per cent of corals in reefs around the world were lost. Oceans absorb more than 90 per cent of climate change heat. Corals cannot cope with rising temperature. The reefs support 25 per cent of all marine species. If corals die, millions of people’s jobs are at stake and losses will run into billions.

The UAE was quick to act on this front, fighting pollution, building artificial reefs, restricting fishing, which in turn has provided a favourable environment to the Orange Spotted Grouper or Hammour, the near-threatened Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphin and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle. The climate change plan has been prepared by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. It aims to counteract domestic greenhouse gas production, two-thirds of which is attributed to energy and water generation and to meet the demands of a UAE population that has trebled to 9.3 million people since the mid-1990s.

The plan is the culmination of years of several environmental strategies, including the UAE’s commitment to the Paris Agreement in 2015 to restrict global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius in the century ahead. The plan will serve as a road map to bolster nationwide action for climate mitigation and adaptation in the UAE to 2050. The objectives are three-fold — managing greenhouse emissions while sustaining economic growth, building climate resilience through stronger climate adaptation and advancing the UAE’s economic diversification agenda through innovative solutions.

The UAE has been a pioneer in protecting the environment. From harnessing solar power, protecting the marine environment to recycling waste and promoting public transport, it has looked at every aspect of living and has tried to protect our planet.

While the authorities have drawn up this plan and are making every effort to arrest climate change and the damage it is causing on our planet, residents too must help make changes to their lifestyle, which in turn will save the environment. It is our planet. We need to protect it together.

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