Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
Amid all the heated political events in the region and around the world, Saudis now are becoming more concerned about the weather. This year summer days seem to be endless and the mercury keeps rising not only in the Kingdom but also around the globe.
Global warming is no longer a theory. It has become a harsh reality of life. A few months ago one of the most important and crucial conferences was held in France to discuss the issue. The conference declared that the entire world needed to join hands to lower global temperature by an average of 2 degrees Celsius. There is a need to slow deforestation, lower carbon dioxide levels and much more. America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had indicated a few weeks ago that the global temperature was higher by more than one degree.
The NOAA is monitoring these changes through its satellites and now it is in the process of using deeper space satellites orbiting 1 million miles from Earth. The NOAA had announced that last June marked 14 consecutive months of record heat for the globe. In other words, the heat wave and rising global temperature is becoming a major concern. The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) is also monitoring the weather changes on the planet.
Saudi Arabia is probably the most effected with the climate change for many reasons. It is true that there are cool places in the mountain regions in the Kingdom but most of the country is experiencing very hot summers. Saudi Arabia is one of the poorest countries in water resources and it had to rely on the world’s largest water desalination plants. But, this process contributes to global warming. Desalination needs a lot of fuel that adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and it increases the salinity of seawater.
A few months ago a British billion-dollar destroyer lost total power and broke down in the water because of the apparently slight but dangerous increase in the seawater temperature. And Saudi Arabia is known to be one of the highest consumers of energy in the world (per capita). The amount of electrical consumption needed to cool our homes and other buildings in the Kingdom is the highest in the world.
We burn fuel to keep cool for the past few decades at a time when we should have developed more environmental friendly and economic means such as using solar energy. Global temperature increase can have many health and environmental hazards that we have seen in the Kingdom. Many people with asthma can be the most affected because of the carbon in the atmosphere. Birds are seen migrating earlier because the winters are getting shorter in many places around the world.
Saudis must learn how to live with hot summer days with more caution regarding the need to conserve energy and turn off all unnecessary electrical appliances and must choose energy-saving appliances. There is a great need for people in the Kingdom to choose the best heat sealants when building homes or any other buildings. Saudi Arabia is a huge country with a fast-growing population and most importantly we are living in what is called a harsh environment. Living without air conditioning is virtually impossible and it is our duty to learn or even enforce conservation measures.
Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Time to Become Eco-Friendly reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.