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Report shows: Kuwait becoming uninhabitable

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

Kuwait sets new records for extreme heat.

Kuwait, one of the world’s hottest countries, is becoming uninhabitable owing to extreme heat.

Temperature records are being broken all around the world as a result of global warming, but Kuwait, one of the hottest places on the planet, is quickly becoming uninhabitable.

The temperature on Earth reached 54 degrees Celsius (129 degrees Fahrenheit) in 2016, the highest reading in 76 years. They broke 50°C for the first time last year in June, weeks ahead of the usual peak weather.

According to the Environment Public Authority, parts of Kuwait might become 4.5°C hotter between 2071 and 2100 than the historical norm, rendering major swathes of the country uninhabitable.

In the hot summer months, dead birds appear on rooftops, unable to find shade or drink.

Veterinarians are besieged with stray cats, many of which have been brought in by people who discovered them near death from heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Even wild foxes are fleeing a desert that has lost its bloom following the rains for the few areas of green that remain in the city, where they are viewed as pests.

“This is why we are seeing less and less wildlife in Kuwait, it’s because most of them aren’t making it through the seasons,” says Tamara Qabazard, a Kuwaiti zoo and wildlife veterinarian. “Last year, we had three to four days at the end of July that were incredibly humid and very hot, and it was hard to even walk outside your house, and there was no wind. A lot of the animals started having respiratory problems.”

Kuwait is OPEC’s fourth-largest oil exporter. Unlike neighboring UAE and Saudi Arabia, the country does not reduce carbon emissions due to political inactivity.

Kuwait has one of the largest carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the world, according to reports. Citizens, on the other hand, do not consider giving up gasoline, which is quite inexpensive.

Kuwaiti authorities agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 7.4 percent in 2035 at the COP26 climate meeting in Scotland, well short of the 45 percent reduction required to avoid global catastrophe.

“Compared with the rest of the Middle East, Kuwait lags in its climate action,” says Manal Shehabi, an academic visitor at Oxford University who studies the Gulf nations. In a region that’s far from doing enough to avoid catastrophic global warming, “climate pledges in Kuwait are [still] significantly lower.”

According to Fitch Ratings, temperature fluctuations in the 2040s and 2050s will have an increasingly detrimental influence on Kuwait’s creditworthiness. Despite the mounting dangers, squabbles between the Gulf’s only elected parliament and a government nominated by the royal family have made it difficult to enact reforms, whether on climate or elsewhere.

“The political deadlock in Kuwait just sucks the oxygen out of the air,” says Samia Alduaij, a Kuwaiti environmental consultant who works with the U.K.’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and UNDP. “This is a very rich country, with a very small population, so it could be so much better.”

The government’s adaption strategy, according to Khaled Mahdi, secretary general of Kuwait’s Supreme Council for Planning and Development, is in line with international policies.

“We clearly identify roles and responsibilities, and all the challenges in the country,” he adds, though he acknowledged that “implementation is the usual challenging issue.”

Image Credit: Getty

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