Vehicular pollution is worsening the climate crisis in Kuwait. With the older generation unable to look beyond their petrol-powered paradise, it's up to the country's youth to do something about it.
If Kuwait fails to drastically reduce its dependence on conventional energy sources, ignoring the threat of climate change, the country will become unliveable in the coming decades, a new study has found.
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Summers have already become extreme in this Gulf nation, which has a population of over 4.5 million people. In 2016, the mercury rose to 54 degree Celsius in Kuwait, the highest reading on Earth in the last 76 years.
According to the Environment Public Authority, parts of Kuwait could get as much as 4.5 degree Celsius hotter from 2071 to 2100, making large areas of the country unliveable.
In fact, the nation has already become uninhabitable for animals. In summers, dead birds on rooftops have become a common sight. Similarly, more and more animals are abandoning the nation for lack of shade and water. Veterinarians in the country are inundated with cases of pets facing respiratory problems due to the harsh climate.
For people, venturing out in the sun has become excruciating. Even 10-15 minutes of sun exposure is leading to dehydration and other issues.
Further, vehicular pollution is worsening the climate crisis in the country where petrol sells cheaper than Coca Cola. Despite attempts by several concerned citizens, a majority of the people are not ready to leave the comfort of their cars for public transport. Due to the excessive use of cars in the country, its vehicular pollution figures have hit the roof. These emissions are making the country even hotter.
Worst of all is the political inaction. In Kuwait, the older generations believe that calls to switch to cleaner fuels “in the garb of climate change” are just a tactic to derail the country’s oil economy. Kuwait is OPEC's fourth-largest oil exporter. They even voted against building a metro network in the country.
Those in office in the country are also dragging their feet when it comes to climate action. While other OPEC nations, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, have set ambitious net-zero emission targets, Kuwait has only pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 7.4 percent by 2035. This target falls short of the 45 percent reduction needed to meet the Paris Agreement's stretch goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.
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The country’s only hope is its younger generation, which is raising the issue of climate change on social media platforms and demanding necessary action from authorities. Several young citizens of Kuwait have even left their jobs and are actively running awareness drives on the ill effects of climate change.
For now, achieving climate goals seems an uphill task for Kuwait. Unless a lot of progress is made on this front really quickly, Kuwait faces the potential threat of turning into a barren unliveable land mass.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)