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Research, implementation vital to solving climate change issues

By Ayeni Olusegun | The Peninsula 28 Jun 2023 

The image above is that of Al Wajbah Fort: A landmark in Qatar’s history and present, credit to The Peninsula, Qatar

Professor Mohammad Irshidat

 

 

Doha, Qatar: Innovative research and implementation are vital to Qatar and the region in light of climate change and environmental issues, Professor Mohammad Irshidat, the Director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM) at Qatar University, has disclosed.

In an interview with The Peninsula, Prof Irshidat said the region faces unique environmental challenges, such as extreme heat, humidity and water scarcity. These challenges have made it imperative to prioritise scientific research and take proactive measures to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is among the most vulnerable to physical climate change impacts, putting human activities and natural systems at high risk.

“Research plays a crucial role in understanding the specific challenges faced by Qatar and the region, as well as identifying effective solutions,” Prof Irshidat told The Peninsula.

“It helps generate valuable data, conduct climate modelling, and assess the vulnerability and risks associated with climate change. This knowledge is essential for making informed decisions and formulating evidence-based policies and strategies,” he added.

The water-stressed MENA already battles with instability in several countries which has damaging environmental consequences leading to severe humanitarian crises. Besides, the impact of oil and gas exploration and the resulting GHG emissions and the lack of arable lands also affect food security, increasing internal hunger displacement among poorer nations in the region. At the same time, the more affluent countries rely more on importation.

However, many modern techniques through research have been funded by Qatar and other countries, especially in the region, to mitigate the impacts of climate change and turn the tide by creating a green and sustainable future.

In 2021, Qatar launched the Qatar National Environment and Climate Change Strategy to protect and enhance the country’s environment, safeguard its population’s well-being and ensure the economy’s long-term resilience.

The strategy also saw Qatar commit to reducing greenhouse (GHG) emissions by 25 percent by 2030, enhancing ambient air quality standards and updating limit values by 2024, among other environmental-friendly policies.

Several countries in the region have also launched sustainability strategies. Despite this, several still find it hard to implement their policies.

Prof Irshidat stressed that implementing research projects is equally essential to addressing sustainability, environmental awareness and climate change.

“Implementation is important, as it involves translating research findings into practical actions. Qatar and the region can benefit significantly from implementing sustainable practices, renewable energy projects, efficient water management systems, and innovative technologies. These initiatives can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve natural resources, protect biodiversity, and build climate resilience,” Prof Irshidat said.

He added that research and implementation contribute to economic diversification and sustainable development. According to him, by investing in clean energy technologies, sustainable agriculture, and green industries, Qatar and the region can create new job opportunities, foster innovation, attract investments, and enhance competitiveness in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

“Research and implementation are paramount to Qatar and the region’s response to climate change and environmental challenges. They provide the knowledge, tools, and actions necessary to build a sustainable and resilient future, ensuring the well-being of current and future generations.”

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