Climate change in the UAE and implications for sustainable development (Term Paper Sample)
Projected climate change andinihtiatives that can be taken to handle itsource..
Projected climate change in the UAE, its implications for sustainable development and the strategic initiatives being taken
Climate change refers to a long-term shift in the average weather conditions such as rainfall patterns, temperature, and wind flow in a region. Natural processes such as solar radiation and other variables that connect land, ocean, and atmosphere ecosystems influence variations in the climatic conditions of an area over a period of time (Hegerl et al., 2019). Over the past two centuries, the explosive human population growth has influenced the rise of climate change in various ways. The impacts of climate change on the environment vary from mild to extreme weather conditions, which cause disruptions to the natural ecosystems. Scientists perceive global warming as the primary source of climate change. Global warming is the gradual increase in atmospheric temperatures due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases, which interfere with the dissipation of solar radiation back into space through a greenhouse effect (Seinfeld and Pandis, 2017). The release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and hydro-fluorocarbons interfere with the re-radiation of long infrared wavelengths to the earth’s surface.
The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to global warming and the destruction of the Ozone layer. Global warming on the natural ecosystems includes melting ice caps leading to a rise in the sea levels, which consequently cause flooding in the coastal areas while destroyed ozone layers allow dangerous rays to reach the earth surface (Benjamin, Por and Budescu, 2016). In addition, irregular rainfall patterns, windstorms, forest fires, ocean acidity, prolonged droughts, extreme temperatures, and increased incidence of pest invasions are among the many effects of global warming. Furthermore, the continued accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leads to prolonged weather variations causing climate change (Kweku et al., 2021). United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the countries experiencing unpredictable weather conditions due to climate change. This report explores the global climate processes to project the future climate changes in the UAE, especially the increased risks of extreme temperatures, storms, and the rise in sea levels. It provides a solid foundational framework to investigate sustainability strategies that the UAE has implemented to mitigate climate change through sustainable development, energy regulation, green construction policies, and transport strategies.
Global Climate Processes
Climate change occurs through natural and human-induced processes, which alter the usual patterns for natural occurrences such as rainfall and temperature. For example, the increased concentration of greenhouse gases induces the following phenomena, which lead to climate change:
Calculating the surface temperature of other planets with no atmosphere is relatively easier as it entails simple variables such as the amount of reflected sunlight, planet size, and distance from the sun. For example, applying this formula to calculating the earth's surface temperature would result in an average of -17°C. However, this is not the case due to the accumulation of atmospheric gases, which absorb solar radiation to space and reflect it to the earth's surface (Kirk-Davidoff, 2018). This increases earth temperatures through a process known as the greenhouse effect. Among the common greenhouse gases is methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapour.
Human activities responsible for releasing greenhouse gases contribute significantly to the ongoing climate change, primarily due to the high concentration of carbon dioxide. There has been a 40% increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere from when the industrial revolution began (Letcher 2019). Complex interactions in the Polar Regions have a balancing effect on the global climate system. Sea ice undergoes complex natural changes, which create an albedo effect to maintain the earth's radiative balance (Huntington et al. 2019). Nevertheless, nearly 80% of the incoming solar radiation is reflected in the atmosphere by sea ice in contrast to the 10% reflected by the open seas (Al Blooshi et al., 2020). As a result, the prevailing climatic conditions of the Arctic and Antarctica regions are significantly influenced by the atmospheric interactions with sea ice. Therefore, the continued melting of glaciers and sea ice leads to increased ice uptake and interferes with the arctic wind systems resulting in heavy snowfall and extremely low temperatures in Europe and very high temperatures during winter.
Future Climate Changes in the UAE Region
The United Arab Emirates has experienced adverse weather conditions such as thunderstorms and flooding due to climate change, which is primarily attributed to the increasing energy demand, rapid population growth, and the exploitation of natural resources. At the current rate of environmental pollution and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, arid lands in the UAE are expected to expand due to prolonged high temperatures and irregular precipitation.
A continuous increase in temperature is expected beyond 42°C, while the wind speed from the east is likely to increase to about 5 mph by 2030. As a result, the deserts are more likely to expand, and the annual precipitation remains below 90 millimetres during winter (Abuegasim and Daiban, 2017). Furthermore, windstorms are likely to increase during summer. The rising sea levels also pose significant threats to the UAE climatic systems, as scientists predict that 85% of the coastal population and infrastructure are likely to be affected by 2075 (Zyoud and Fuchs-Hanusuchs, 2019). However, the development of nuclear energy as an alternative source of fuel coupled with strategic policy initiatives has a promising future for UAE climate change control.
UAE Sustainability Strategies
The Paris Agreement on mitigating the threat of climate change is one of the foundational frameworks for sustainability strategies and policy initiatives by the UAE to protect natural ecosystems. However, despite the robust international collaboration on mitigating climate change, the world has experienced a 400% increase in the frequency of adverse weather events over the last five years (Al-Sarihi, 2018). In response to this, the UAE has adopted the following interventions to combat climate change.
The UAE government has developed a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) framework to create a climate-safe future through sustainable mitigation and adaptation. A series of policy initiatives to regulate the use of agrochemicals and the release of industrial chemicals have been developed to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 70 million tons, which account for 23.5% of the current emissions by 2030 (Nuaimi, 2021). Regulatory interventions leveraging modern technology have been developed for all economic sectors. Modern technology has been extensively applied in the creation of an integrated carbon abatement network to promote the use of clean sources of energy such as nuclear and solar power. The country plans to attain a clean power capacity of 14 GW by 2030 through an ambitious $40 billion investment program.
Solar and Nuclear Energy
The UAE government is finalizing the construction of a massive solar power plant with a production capacity of about 5 GW to serve millions of households and hundreds of factories. The UAE automobile industry is on the course of developing solar-powered engines to cut down CO2 emissions. By 2020, the UAE government launched the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant with a production capacity of 5600 MW to supply 25% of its electricity needs (Kweku et al., 2017). Once the plant is operational, it will reduce the annual CO2 emissions by 21 million tons (Nuaimi, 2021). The UAE government have led to a 32.8% decrease in carbon emission from 32.6 to 21.9 tons between 1990 and 2010 (Shanks, 2018). Other sustainable measures that the UAE government has developed to combat climate change include the emirate-specific building regulations, which focus on promoting energy efficiency in the construction industry through continuous scientific assessments of the current and future climate risks.
The Creation of Blue Carbon Ecosystems
The UAE government has created sustainable strategies to restore blue carbon ecosystems through measures such as planning mangrove forests, which are natural and sustainable carbon sinks for emissions from the gas industry. Mangroves mitigate climate change in the UAE by absorbing 1 million tons of CO2 annually, creating natural barriers against storms, and provide a safe breeding environment for marine species. The government has embarked on an ambitious plan to plant 30 million mangrove trees by 2030 (Al-Sarihi, 2018). In 2017, the United Arab Emirates created a National Climate Change Plan, which makes a strong framework for innovative economic diversification in the private sector and sustainable management of greenhouse gases.
Abuelgasim, A. and Daiban, S., 2017. Levels of Climate Change Awareness in the United Arab Emirates [online]. Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2021].
Al Blooshi, L.S., Ksiksi, T.S., Aboelenein, M. and Gargoum, A.S., 2020. The Impact of Climate Change on
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