The Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia
By Suzan Zawawi
RIYADH - HOTTER and drier weather, less rainfall and frequent droughts threaten the Kingdom due to climate change.
Startling statistics were presented Saturday morning at the United Nations headquarters here during the local launch of the Human Development Report 2007/2008: "Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World.""If we don't take action today and take responsibility of our actions today, our children will be inheriting a polluted and sick planet," said El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UN Resident Coordinator.
"The world has less than a decade to avoid dangerous climate change that could bring unprecedented human development reversals," he said.
"The whole of the Middle East will suffer from dry, hot weather," said David Aubrey, General Manager of Woodshole Group.
In Saudi Arabia, especially in Riyadh, it will be drier and hotter, he said.
Saudi Arabia, as a major oil exporter, has already taken up the issue of climate change. Last month at the opening of the third OPEC summit in Riyadh, King Abdullah announced a $300 million fund to develop technology to tackle climate change.
The UN climate report listed water shortage as the main threat faced by Middle Eastern countries due to climate change. The region has already become the world's most water-stressed region; climate change could add around 1.8 billion people to the population living in a water scarce environment by 2080, the report said.
Scientists have estimated that the earth temperature will increase 2-4 degree Centigrade in the next 100 years, compared to 0.70 degree Centigrade in the past 100 years.
"This is very serious," said Benlamlih. "Some scientists predict that the earth wouldn't be able to handle such dramatic increase in temperature."
The Human Development Report 2007/2008 called for a ‘twin track' approach that combines stringent mitigation to limit 21st Century warming to less than 2 degree Centigrade, with strengthened international cooperation.
Benlamlih highlighted the importance of the forthcoming international climate change conference to be held in Bali from Monday as a unique opportunity to put the interests of the world's poor and future generations at the heart of climate change negotiations.
To reduce the dangerous effect of climate change the world must reduce its Carbon Dioxide emission to 50 percent by 2050 with a peak by 2020; developed countries must cut it by 80 percent by 2050 and under developing countries must cut it 20 percent by 2050.
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