Climate change matters at World Future Energy Summit

Global climate change was not on the agenda this week at the World Future Energy Summit but it nevertheless emerged as a prominent topic of concern.

In the United Arab Emirates, climate change poses a significant threat to the medium- and long-run prospects for economic growth. Eighty-five percent of the population and 90 percent of the infrastructure are located along the Gulf Coast, making the country particularly vulnerable to the threat of rising sea levels. It has been estimated that just one meter of sea level rise would wipe out roughly 1,200 square kilometers of prime coastal property.

The UAE is also heavily dependent on imports of food and other essential commodities, making the country particularly vulnerable to climate change-related shocks beyond its borders. Although 83 percent of its freshwater supplies are allocated to irrigation, the agricultural sector only contributes 2 percent to its GDP. With a robust 6.7 percent population growth rate, meeting the needs of this population in the face of climate change impacts poses a massive logistical and political challenge.

According to Majid Hasan Al Suwadi, online casino lead climate change negotiator for the UAE, there is often a misperception within the international community that the UAE can simply throw money at these problems to solve them. However, Suwadi pointed out that the UAE faces many of the same complex agency and ministerial coordination problems that plague climate change mitigation and adaption efforts in other countries. The key to unlocking these challenges, he said, is to bring together government representatives, the private sector, NGOs, and academia to exchange best practices to build human capacity. “Those sorts of initiatives,” he argued, “can often seem simple but they can often have a big impact.”

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