Source: Al Wafd Newspaper
Dr.. Ali Mohamed Al-Khouri
This summer of 2023, the world witnessed an intense heat wave that is considered the highest in the history of the Earth in the modern era. Its causes are due to climate changes resulting from excessive emission of carbon into the atmosphere. This exciting climate event raises a state of panic and fear among human societies, and that record temperatures and drought conditions will lead to the spread of forest fires, floods, and severe environmental impacts. The scientific and international community has become aware of the need to take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean, renewable energy sources to mitigate the potentially devastating effects of global warming.
Climate changes are getting worse on the planet
Global reports confirm that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is steadily increasing, with most of it occurring in the past few decades, and directly linked to human activities, primarily the use of fossil fuels. Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels were around 280 parts per million, and by 2021 its levels had reached approximately 415 parts per million, the highest level in at least 800,000 years.
The scientific community believes that the continuation of this increase in temperatures may lead to a set of catastrophic effects on the environment, ecosystems and human societies, such as causing floods, hurricanes, storms, heat waves and droughts that are more frequent and severe, affecting marine, plant and animal life, loss of biological diversity, and the destruction of millions of hectares of land. Crops around the world, as well as the harmful effects on human health such as disease outbreaks, epidemics, and severe famines in the near future.
The impact of climate change on Southeast Asia
The International Monetary Fund revealed the serious effects of climate change on Southeast Asian countries, and predicted an 11% decline in the region’s gross domestic product in the coming years if the climate crisis remains out of control. Another study conducted by the Versk Maplecroft group, which specializes in analyzing risks and environmental issues, showed that losses in these countries may reach 35% of their gross domestic product by 2050.
Reports show that climate change may lead to an economic setback in these countries, potential mass displacement, and rising patterns of out-migration, with millions resorting to wealthier countries, including the countries of the Arab Gulf region – which currently host nearly 25 million workers from Asia – This may put these countries facing various challenges that will represent exhausting economic, security and social pressures at the same time.
Tackling the climate crisis: policy recommendations
It is clear that policymakers have no choice but to focus on addressing the root causes of the challenges they face, especially the climate crisis and its potential impact on migration rates. Several procedural paths should be worked here. At the forefront is giving priority to developing and enforcing policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions, including the transition to clean energy sources, enhancing energy efficiency, and encouraging sustainable practices in industrial sectors.
The next pathway is related to strengthening disaster preparedness and resilience. Investing in disaster preparedness and resilience measures can mitigate the impact of climate disasters, and this requires allocating resources to build infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather events and having effective disaster response mechanisms.
The other strategic path is related to strengthening regional cooperation, which requires developing a comprehensive approach to confront the migration challenges arising from climate change. This could include joint initiatives for economic development, job creation, and climate change adaptation strategies.
In this context, countries, especially Gulf countries, must plan proactively to deal with potential social and economic tensions associated with migration resulting from climate change. Adopting sustainable and forward-looking policies is crucial to ensuring economic and social stability and the ability to confront this global crisis.