Humans responsible for climate change: Half of the UAE says
Over 50 per cent of UAE residents believe that climate change is caused by human activity.
The emirates is today the frontrunner in setting KPIs in achieving a sustainable environment and infrastructure by 2021
Climate change has been a long-debated topic, including its existence, its causes and its potential damage to the world we live in today. As years go by, there is more research and data available, and greater global consensus on the different aspects of climate change. A new 28-country YouGov survey uncovers attitudes to climate change across the world.
For a region like the Middle East, with several low-lying major cities susceptible to rising sea levels, and recognised by the World Bank (2018) as "the most water scarce region in the world", realising and acting on the implications of climate change may be critical to the region's future.
When asked to describe their views about the global environment, half of UAE respondents (52 per cent) said they believe the climate is changing and human activity is mainly responsible. Similarly, two in five (42 per cent) of Egyptians stated the same, followed by only one-third (35 per cent) in Saudi Arabia.
In contrast, Western countries such as Spain and Italy, show a substantially larger proportion (69 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively) claiming that climate change is due to human activity.
A further 7 per cent of Egyptian and Saudi Arabian residents allege that climate is changing but human activity is not responsible at all, while 6 per cent of UAE respondents have the same opinion. Of the markets covered in the study, these figures are only the same or higher in the US (10 per cent), Norway (8 per cent), and Sweden (6 per cent).
YouGov's global study also asked how much of an impact, if any, respondents believe climate change would have on their lives. The majority of respondents in the Middle East indicated that climate would have a great deal of impact on their lives, including more than half of respondents in Egypt (58 per cent) and the UAE (56 per cent).
When it comes to taking action on climate change, the study saw a larger gap between whether respondents think they personally or their country could be doing more to tackle climate change. Almost 90 per cent of Spaniards believe their country could be doing more to mitigate climate change, while almost 70 per cent believe they personally could be more proactive on the matter.
In contrast, only around half of those in the UAE (47 per cent) believe their country could take more action on climate change. This could be tied to the UAE's very well-known Vision 2021 in which the UAE government has set a roadmap for climate change mitigation, including 14 projects that are set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other initiatives.
In an effort to highlight the UAE's fight against climate change, HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, was in Washington last month to showcase the country's leading efforts in climate action at bilateral meetings and panel discussions on the most important environmental and climate challenges facing the world.
Al Zeyoudi presented an overview of the UAE's early experience in transitioning to renewables that started at a time of widespread doubt about their viability and value, giving the country first-mover advantage and an excellent opportunity to emerge as a 21st century renewables superpower.
Maintaining the focus on youth, Al Zeyoudi delivered a lecture to undergraduates at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He highlighted the UAE's multifaceted approach to climate action at home and further afield, from deploying clean energy megaprojects and improving energy efficiency to driving green economy and preserving biodiversity.
In his keynote address, he emphasised the UAE's keenness to maintain a balance between man and environment that allows them both to thrive, which has been a priority throughout the country's development journey.
He also highlighted Masdar's worldwide portfolio of renewable energy assets and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)'s carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) project that captures 800,000 tons of CO2 a year from its operations.