Photo: KT archive
Unprecedented heat waves in recent years in the United Arab Emirates are prompting the Abu Dhabi government to launch a heat alert in 2024.
This is according to a senior Abu Dhabi government executive, who shed light on his department’s agenda along with several others, as part of the capital’s Climate Change Strategy at COP 28 on Wednesday.
Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), said: “We all need to work together to address climate change. Here in the UAE and specifically in Abu Dhabi we are on the receiving end of the global impact. “Many of us have noticed unforeseen heat waves and sandstorms more than ever over the past two years.”
And he added: “Environmental management has been with us for many decades. So this is not new to us. “Our founding father has been conscious of conserving and protecting the environment and we have had many initiatives to address climate change, desertification and blue carbon.”
The emirate plans to achieve a 22 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2027 (equivalent to sequestering 500 million trees over 10 years) in support of the UAE’s Net Zero Strategic Initiative by 2050.
Matar Saeed Al Nuaimi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center (ADPHC), said: “We have several initiatives. One of them is the heat alert that is expected to be launched next year. By creating procedures we can create action plans to mitigate the impact of environmental factors on human beings.”
Through various strategies, critical sectors such as infrastructure, energy, environment and health will be improved to ensure not only business continuity but also climate resilience and agility.
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Department of Energy Chairperson Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar said: “I believe I am among those who contribute to CO2 emissions on a personal level. I think it is crucial that everyone recognizes this fact. Recognizing our individual contributions is important because it influences our actions, whether at the individual or family level.”
“We develop policies to ensure the security and continuous supply of two vital resources: water and electricity. Additionally, our goals are to maintain affordability and prioritize respect for the environment.”
‘A crop for every drop’
Meanwhile, Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, director general of the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, explained the various methods used in his department to take advantage of scientific approaches.
He said: “Climate is at the heart of agriculture. Everything we do is directly related to the climate. We have no choice but to work with the climate and for the climate to produce food in this part of the world. “It is a very tough environment.”
“We can do it using the right science and techniques. We have launched the agricultural genomics program which aims to facilitate the cultivation of resilient plants and animals capable of thriving in difficult conditions while maximizing production with minimal resources. Adopting precision agriculture instead of flood irrigation is crucial for our farms, with the goal of optimizing water use to produce a crop for every drop in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, post-harvest technologies and practices would ensure that we reduce waste from farms to fork. These are some of the initiatives that we are working on very seriously in the capital,” Ameri added.
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