Arab youth ready to boycott environment-damaging brands

Arab youth ready to boycott environment-damaging brands

The Gulf Cooperation Council Arab youth ready to boycott environment-damaging brands with 58% ready to support calls to boycott brands that harm the environment.
Above Image: Shutterstock

Arab youth ready to boycott environment-damaging brands, survey finds

By Arabian Business


Arab youth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states lead the charge at 65 percent, followed by North Africa at 58 percent, and the Levantine nations at 51 percent.

A majority of Arab youth are prepared to endorse calls for boycotting brands detrimental to the environment, according to the 15th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.

This percentage stands at 58 percent, with notable variations across regions. Youth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states lead the charge at 65 percent, followed by North Africa at 58 percent, and the Levantine nations at 51 percent.

The survey, released on September 21 to coincide with Zero Emissions Day, indicates mounting apprehension among Arab youth about climate change’s impact on their daily lives.

An astonishing 66 percent of respondents, the highest in five years, expressed being ‘very concerned’ about this global challenge.

With climate crisis asserting its immediate presence in the region, a substantial 71 percent of all respondents affirmed that global warming is already affecting their lives. This sentiment is most pronounced in North Africa (76 percent) and the GCC states (74 percent), and somewhat lower but still significant in the Levantine countries (63 percent).

Despite this, 87 percent of Arab youth believe their governments are taking positive action against climate crisis.

However, 56 percent feel that governments should set transparent and accountable targets for achieving net zero emissions.

Presently, only a handful of countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have set such targets, including the GCC states and Iraq.

Regarding the role of Arab countries in tackling global warming compared to other nations, less than half (42 percent) of the surveyed youth believe that Arab nations should do more.

When it comes to addressing global warming, opinions are divided, with 49 percent advocating for lifestyle changes and 47 percent pinning their hopes on technological advancements.

Climate Change awareness among Arab youth

Sunil John, President of MENA at BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, highlighted the region’s significance in the global climate change dialogue due to its energy resources.

“The Middle East is home to some of the world’s largest energy producers and proven oil and gas reserves. This has positioned the Arab world at the heart of the global climate change dialogue. With Egypt hosting the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in 2022 and the UAE preparing to welcome the world for COP28 this year, the region is once again in the global spotlight,” he said.

He also stressed the vulnerability of the MENA region to climate change, citing increased temperatures, frequent heatwaves, and water scarcity as pressing concerns.

“Amidst all this, it is encouraging that the region’s largest demographic, its over 200 million youth, understand the implications of climate change. Most are also willing to support the boycott of brands damaging nature. It is important that businesses take heed of their sentiment and make genuine efforts to minimise their environmental impact by aligning their values with the aspirations of the region’s youth,” he added.

This survey of over 200 million Arab youth underscores the urgent need for climate action, both on a governmental and corporate level.

With the Middle East at the center of climate discussions, the region’s youth are poised to play a pivotal role in driving change and holding businesses accountable for their environmental impact.




The virtue of green choice for Qatar


The virtue of green choice for Qatar could well be served by only reducing all greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors by 25% by 2030 . . . 

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to Middle-East campaign.

The virtue of green choice for Qatar

Dr. Yassine Talaoui in The Peninsula of 20 Sep 2023

Qatar seeks to increase LNG production by 63% by 2027 and commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors by 25 percent by 2030. Though the two goals may sound contradictory, the curious mind muses on how this could lead Qatar to fashion a dual role as both gas exporter and green-energy powerhouse. Further, the challenge in setting up Qatar’s dual energy role isn’t in the potential or commitment. After all, the region has witnessed multiple attempts of diversifying commodity-based economies to no avail.

How can Qatar square the circle, then? Put simply, by coming through with the finance and the mechanics of spending it.

Allow me to explain.

Since its discovery in 1972, Gas has propelled Qatar development into a wealthy and ambitious state. The kind of ambition that landed Qatar the FIFA World Cup and carved it a role as a regional problem solver. The time now has come to use that very same commodity to build a different economic future for generations to come.

Last year, Qatar has reported a budget surplus of $24billion. This cash excess is likely to swell further due to the increasing gas demand caused by the Ukraine-Russia Crisis, which has turned gas into the new oil. Qatar’s ministry of finance could use this surplus to beef up the Qatar Investment Authority to snap up some trophy assets. But it could also divert these proceeds toward building electric grids capable of handling the transition to clean energy. In the long run, the latter option translates to choosing action today and fewer tradeoffs ahead. It would mean spreading the cost of climate change by securing a more productive hydrocarbon-free economy for Qatar, fewer emissions, and lowering the risk of flooding and extreme heat. As such, Qatar could power its growth using renewable grids, which would replace the ones running on hydrocarbons. In this vein, Qatar’s high solar potential could be used to develop solar energy projects to create thousand megawatts of solar generation capacity.

As the country expands its domestic production capacity by $30billion to swell further gas revenues, pumping these surpluses into renewable grids would elevate Qatar to a much higher level of success toward reaching NetZero emissions. This necessitates a pledge to invest continuously in green development projects that can reduce emissions and spur carbon-free economic growth. Such an aim can be achieved via proper carbon pricing and international emissions trading to persuade the private sector to join forces for Qatar’s decarbonizing efforts. Government aids and loans can follow with green strings to incentivize the private sector to contribute to cutting emissions and converting hydrocarbon-powered consumption to a green one.

Becoming an even bigger player in gas production would mean Qatar can pour gas proceeds into clean manufacturing and diversifying local economies. As cash flows in, Qatar’s transition away from hydrocarbons speeds up and its competitiveness in the non-hydrocarbon economy rises. It is possible to imagine how such a virtuous cycle of hydrocarbon proceeds and clean-economy growth might lead to more investment and trade that lifts Qatar’s living standards and broadens prosperity for its population. The gas bonanza can be used to finance essential infrastructure and desalination projects that can help Qatar’s cities stay habitable amid rising temperatures. Environmental journalist Gaia Vince argues, in her book “Nomad Century, that regions populated by close to 3.5 billion people would become unsuitable for living if the world temperature grew by a mere 4 degrees.

Gas has been and continues to be a valuable source of foreign exchange for Qatar. With its revenues, the government can continue its social spending, school, healthcare, and public services funding, and direct what is left of its budget toward green economy maneuvers. These entail a series of projects such as waste-processing plants, a big sea wall, or even swapping to electric buses. At the global level, these moves will bring Qatar closer to the COP national climate targets. At the national level, they will shield Qatar from regional and global crises 10 to 20 years from now. And most importantly, on Qatar’s balance sheet, their cost can be afforded today.

By acting now, Qatar can avoid the tradeoff, lying ahead, between climate and development. As temperatures rise and world poverty presses, the tradeoff is imminent. Weird as it may sound, Qatar’s gas production expansion is its exit plan from a hydrocarbon-based economy toward a diversified economy aimed at lowering environmental risks and ecological scarcities and building infrastructure that promotes social and environmental sustainability.

Dr. Yassine Talaoui  is Assistant Professor of Strategic Management at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Organizational Excellence, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University.





Climate Change made Libya’s deadly rainfall


Climate Change made Libya’s deadly rainfall more than fifty times not more likely but surely, more crucial for our understanding of the critical situation of the MENA region.

The above-featured is for illustration and credit to Libyan Express.

Climate Change made Libya’s deadly rainfall up to 50 times more likely – study

A view shows destroyed buildings, in the aftermath of the floods in Derna, Libya September 18, 2023. REUTERS/Ahmed Elumami Acquire Licensing Rights


BERLIN, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Climate Change made the heavy rainfall that led to deadly floods in Libya up to 50 times more likely, scientists said on Tuesday.

The powerful Sept. 10 storm caused two dams to break, inundating Libya’s eastern city of Derna and killing thousands of people. Residential blocks built along a typically dry riverbank toppled, as the swollen river undermined foundations.

Building in flood plains, poor dam conditions, long-lasting armed conflict and other local factors played a role in the disaster.

But climate change caused up to 50% more rain during that period, according to scientists with World Weather Attribution, an international research collaboration that works to determine how much climate change plays a role in specific weather events.

The scientists warned that as climate change pushes weather to new extremes, it would remain risky to build homes on flood plains or to use substandard materials.

“The interaction of these factors, and the very heavy rain that was worsened by climate change, created the extreme destruction [in Libya]”, the scientists wrote in a statement.

They used climate and computer simulations to compare weather events today with what they might have been if the climate had not already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius above the average preindustrial temperature.

Rainfall can increase or become more erratic with climate change, as a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour – allowing more moisture to build up before clouds finally break.

The “extremely unusual” storm event delivered 50% more rain than it would have if there was no global warming, according to the scientists’ research. Such an event can be expected once every 300-600 years in the current climate, they said.

Meanwhile, climate change also caused up to a 40% increase in the amount of rain that fell in early September across the Mediterranean, causing floods that killed dozens in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.

“The Mediterranean is a hotspot of climate change-fueled hazards,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, citing heatwaves and wildfires in the region over summer.

Reuters –  Reporting by Riham Alkousaa Editing by Alexandra Hudson



Sustainable tourism journey: Much more to be done


Sustainable tourism journey: Much more to be done

DUBAI, 1 day ago

The above-featured image is for illustration and is
Bain & Company recently launched a report highlighting the increasing demand for sustainable tourism among leisure travellers across the globe, driving the market for sustainable tourism to develop strongly in the coming years.
Leisure travellers worldwide will choose destinations and providers (airlines, hotels, restaurants, and tour companies) based on their sustainability records and are starting to pay a premium for it, said the report titled: “Sustainable Tourism: An Untapped Opportunity for Green Growth.”
The research showed that travellers feel that the travel and tourism sector is not making enough effort to be more sustainable and there is much this sector can do to protect the environment.

Karim Henain

We spoke to Karim Henain, Partner, Bain & Company Middle East on some of the issues raised by the report. Here’s an excerpt:
What are some of the key findings in the report?
Following a dip in 2020, tourism is again on the rise, expected to reach $17 trillion in size by 2027, compared to $11 trillion prior to Covid-19. There is an increasing appetite for more sustainable tourism among leisure travellers across the globe, driving the market for sustainable tourism to develop strongly in the coming years. Leisure travelers worldwide will choose destinations and providers (airlines, hotels, restaurants, and tour companies) based on their sustainability records and are starting to pay a premium for it. On the other hand, research shows that travellers feel that the travel and tourism sector is making little or no effort to be more sustainable, indicating that there is still much room for the sector to respond and make a difference.
What makes sustainability enthusiasts such an important target group?
Sustainability enthusiasts were found in the six markets covered in the research (Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and China), but demographics varied by market.
For example, sustainability enthusiasts from China and Saudi Arabia were predominantly highly educated (university or higher) Millennials, whereas their European counterparts were almost equally spread across age groups, income, and education levels.
Sustainability enthusiasts are such an important group, because compared with the rest of the survey respondents, they were:
  • 4x more likely to consider sustainability aspects as “extremely important” when choosing a holiday destination.
  • 7x more likely to recommend a holiday destination driven by sustainability considerations.
  • 1.6x more willing to pay for more sustainable choices, at a premium of 15 to 20 percentage points compared to non-enthusiasts.
While we recognise that there is a “say vs do” gap in terms of what consumers actually choose and how much more they are willing to pay for more sustainable choices, sustainability enthusiasts remain a significant segment that countries can tackle through different sustainability offerings.
What is the status of sustainable tourism in UAE, KSA and Egypt?
Driven by the opportunity presented by sustainable tourism, holiday destinations and travel and tourism providers worldwide take steps to improve their sustainability performance and traveller perception of how sustainable their practices and offerings are. Egypt has already launched several initiatives to improve the sustainability performance of its travel and tourism sector.
To evaluate how travellers perceive Egypt’s sustainability efforts, we asked the survey respondents to rank Egypt’s sustainability performance vs main competing destinations in MENA (Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, UAE, Morocco).
Overall, Greece ranked first as the holiday destination perceived to be most sustainable, while Egypt ranked fourth.
On the other hand, the perception of Egypt significantly improved among sustainability enthusiasts, while we saw significant differences in how Egypt and other competing destinations were perceived across the different markets (China, Saudi Arabia, Europe).
What is the status of sustainable tourism in the UAE?
The UAE has taken multiple steps towards sustainable tourism. For example, Dubai has recently launched, in collaboration with the hospitality sector, the Dubai Sustainable Tourism stamp, which encourages hotels throughout the Emirate to take initiatives around energy and water efficiency, waste management, and staff education and engagement.
Our research shows that the perception of the UAE with regards to sustainable tourism remains to be still in the middle of the pack, however, with significant variation among different traveller segments. For example, sustainability enthusiasts from the ME region see UAE to be the top destination for sustainable tourism compared to other markets. Whereas individuals from the same segment from other markets (e.g., China and Europe) see the UAE lagging other regional tourism markets.

Climate change undermines nearly all sustainable development goals


Because only 15% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track, says the United in Science report, Climate change undermines nearly all sustainable development goals.

Climate change undermines nearly all sustainable development goals

The above-featured image is of Pixabay

Geneva, 14 September 2023 – At the half-time point of the 2030 Agenda, the science is clear – the planet is far off track from meeting its climate goals. This undermines global efforts to tackle hunger, poverty and ill-health, improve access to clean water and energy and many other aspects of sustainable development, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

At the half-time point of the 2030 Agenda, the science is clear – the planet is far off track from meeting its climate goals. This undermines global efforts to tackle hunger, poverty and ill-health, improve access to clean water and energy and many other aspects of sustainable development, according to a new multi-agency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Only 15% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on track, says the United in Science report, which makes a systematic examination of the impact of climate change and extreme weather on the goals. It illustrates how weather, climate and water-related sciences can advance aims such as food and water security, clean energy, better health, sustainable oceans and resilient cities.

The annual report combines input and expertise from 18 organizations. It is issued ahead of the SDG Summit and Climate Ambition Summit at the United Nations General Assembly.

“2023 has shown all too clearly that climate change is here. Record temperatures are scorching the land and heating the sea, as extreme weather causes havoc around the globe. While we know this is just the beginning, the global response is falling far short. Meanwhile, halfway to the 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world is woefully off-track,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“Science is central to solutions. It is widely understood that weather, climate, and water-related sciences provide the underpinnings for climate action. But it is less recognized how these sciences can supercharge progress on the SDGs across the board,” Mr Guterres writes in the foreword.

“At this pivotal moment in history, the halfway mark to achieving the SDGs, the science community stands united in the effort to achieve prosperity for people and the planet,” says WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“Groundbreaking scientific and technological advances, such as high-resolution climate modelling, artificial intelligence and nowcasting, can catalyze transformation to achieve the SDGs. And achieving Early Warnings for All by 2027 will not only save lives and livelihoods but also help safeguard sustainable development,” he comments.

The report shows, for example, how weather predictions help boost food production and move  closer to zero hunger. Integrating epidemiology and climate information helps understand and anticipate those diseases sensitive to climate. And early-warning systems help to reduce poverty by giving people the chance to prepare and limit the impact.

The need for science and solutions is more urgent than ever.

Between 1970 and 2021, there were nearly 12 000 reported disasters from weather, climate and water extremes, causing over 2 million deaths and US$ 4.3 trillion in economic losses. Over 90% of these reported deaths and 60% of economic losses occurred in developing economies, undermining sustainable development.

Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by more extreme weather. The chance of the annual mean global near-surface temperature temporarily exceeding 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next five years is 66% and is increasing with time.

So far, there has been very limited progress in reducing the emissions gap for 2030 – the gap between the emissions reductions promised by countries and the emissions reductions needed to achieve the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Fossil fuel CO2 emissions increased 1% globally in 2022 compared to 2021 and preliminary estimates from January-June 2023 show a further 0.3% rise.

To get on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to well below 2 °C and preferably 1.5 °C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 30% and 45%, respectively, by 2030, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions getting close to net zero by 2050. This will require large-scale, rapid and systemic transformations.

Some future changes in climate are unavoidable, and potentially irreversible, but every fraction of a degree and ton of CO2 matters to limit global warming and achieve the SDGs, says the report.

“The science continues to show that we are not doing enough to lower emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement – as the world prepares for the first global stocktake at COP28, we must increase our ambition and action, and we must all do the real work to transform our economies through a just transition to a sustainable future for people and planet,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.


For further information, please contact: 

Clare Nullis, WMO Media Officer, Tel: +41797091397