Kuwait to be uninhabitable in the next few decades

Kuwait to be uninhabitable in the next few decades


Kuwait to be uninhabitable in the next few decades: Report

Experts say Kuwait needs to push renewable energy transition

By Ali Hamza in Kuwait Times

KUWAIT: As Kuwait experiences a faster rise in average temperatures compared to the global average, numerous reports suggest that many parts of the country will become uninhabitable in the coming decades. According to the Environment Public Authority, certain areas of Kuwait could experience temperature increases of up to 4.5 degrees Celsius above the historical average, rendering large portions of the country unsuitable for human habitation. Additionally, according to statistics from Our World Data, Kuwait ranks third in the world for electricity consumption per capita, with a staggering 19,433 kWh per person.

This high electricity demand is primarily met through fossil fuels in power plants, contributing significantly to carbon emissions. Kuwait also faces a substantial water consumption rate, with 61 percent of its water produced through energy-intensive desalination processes, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases, acting as greenhouse gases, trap heat from the sun, exacerbating the temperature rise. Kuwait’s economy heavily relies on the oil sector, which involves the burning of fossil fuels and further contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2021, Kuwait’s per capita CO2 emissions reached 22.49 tons, making it one of the countries with the highest carbon emissions per capita. Consequently, Kuwait currently ranks as one of the most polluted countries globally, ranking seventh for air quality. Addressing the impending environmental disaster in Kuwait requires concerted efforts and innovative solutions. While the country heavily depends on oil and gas production, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential. Technologies like Direct Air Capture (DAC) offer the ability to capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere, regardless of location, for storage or other uses.

Given the substantial greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry, adopting Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to capture CO2 emissions from industrial processes and power plants can help mitigate emissions while allowing continued hydrocarbon production. Kuwait’s significant reliance on desalination for fresh drinking water poses another challenge. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with desalination, Kuwait can transition to more renewable energy sources, such as solar thermal desalination.

Kuwait’s flat and open terrain provides an ideal setting for wind power generation. Installing wind turbines strategically can harness wind energy and convert it into electricity. Moreover, investments in large-scale solar panels can lead to hybrid electricity systems, combining multiple renewable energy sources like wind and solar with energy storage systems for a more stable energy supply. Promoting electric-powered vehicles, such as electric buses and installing charging stations in parking lots, can further reduce carbon emissions.

Several companies have already initiated projects to promote renewable energy sources in Kuwait. For example, KOC’s Sidrah 500 project is a large-scale photovoltaic solar energy initiative with the capacity to generate 10 MW of electric power from solar energy. This project is expected to save 500,000 barrels of oil over 20 years, equivalent to planting 500,000 trees.

Numerous other renewable energy projects are in development in Kuwait, with the Shagaya solar power project aiming to generate approximately 3.2 GW of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. “Kuwait possesses significant potential for large-scale renewable energy production, but it has a long road ahead,” said Sameer Ahmad, an environmental supervisor at Dietsmann Technology, emphasizing the need for sustained efforts and progress in this direction.




The next big market: Emissions trading


Carbon credits grant organizations the right to emit a certain amount of CO2 annually, thus giving an opportunity to trade off any unused allowance which allows countries to stay within their emission control goals. So, the next big market would undoubtedly be Emissions trading.  

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to REFINITIV.


The next big market: Emissions trading

By Zaid Aboobacker in Kuwait Times

17 August 2023

KUWAIT: Step into the world of carbon credits. Picture this: A permit granting countries and organizations a set carbon emission limit. But here’s where it gets intriguing – if they don’t use up their allowance, they can trade it. Imagine a company selling its unused emissions to another that’s gone overboard their emission limits. In simple words, carbon credits grant organizations the right to emit a certain amount of CO2 annually, acting as a regulatory framework which allows countries to stay within their emission control goals.

Emission trading systems

Carbon markets mainly fall into two types: Compliance and voluntary. Compliance markets emerge due to the presence of national, regional and/or global policies or regulatory obligations. These are obligatory responsibilities that businesses must meet. Voluntary carbon markets, both at the national and international levels, refer to the voluntary trading, purchasing and selling of carbon credits. The current supply of voluntary carbon credits comes mostly from private organizations that develop carbon projects, or governments with certified programs that reduce emissions and/or removals.

Demand is generated by businesses with sustainability goals, private individuals looking to offset their carbon footprints and other parties looking to profit by trading credits. One of the first tradable emission offset mechanisms is the 1997 US Clean Air Act. This act enabled a permitted facility to increase emissions if it compensated by paying another company to cut emissions by an equal or greater amount.

This act laid the groundwork for a mesmerizing dance of emission trading that echoes across subnational, national, and international stages. In 2023, under India’s Carbon Credit Trading Scheme, entities exceeding emission limits now face a choice: Pay a penalty or embrace responsible practices. Programs like California’s Cap Trade Program cover about 85 percent of statewide GHG emissions. One of the biggest emission trading systems is the European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS), which witnessed emission allowances from €12.4 per ton by the end of 2010 to a jaw-dropping €100.3 per metric ton of CO? by 2023.

Nadine Mustafa

Carbon offset schemes for carbon credit

Let’s talk about carbon offset schemes — these schemes are programs which produce credits in exchange for funding programs that offset carbon emissions. Carbon credits and offsets are produced from diverse projects like fuel switching, energy efficiency, reforestation and renewable energy. In practice, a developed country can fund a greenhouse gas reduction project in a developing country. As a result, the developed country receives credit for achieving its carbon reduction goals, while the developing country receives funding for projects, technologies or a favorable change in land use. This falls under the Clean Development Mechanism, a UN-administered carbon offset initiative. CORSIA, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, represents a global initiative aimed at limiting international aviation emissions, which also establishes a framework for generating credits and offsets on a global scale. The REDD+ program is another international program that aims to monetize landowners to refrain from deforestation or degradation. In doing so, the program fosters a collaborative balance between conservation and compensation. Dr Nadine Moustafa, a PhD researcher specializing in carbon capture technologies, said: “Should Kuwait embark on implementing such a scheme, it must brace itself for an ongoing and vigilant monitoring process.

Embracing an emissions trading scheme becomes especially pivotal if Kuwait intends to embrace industrial innovation, championing technologies like carbon capture and storage.” Some carbon markets are implementing blockchain technology for processes like tracking carbon credit transactions or monitoring, reporting and verification. This can improve the auditability of emission-reduction project data, streamlining verification processes, thus reducing transaction costs and enhancing trust among market participants, according to the World bank.

Value of Credits

How are the carbon credits valued? How can we ensure the quality of a carbon credit? How do we determine the value of a carbon credit produced by a carbon offset program? We will all answer it here. A number of factors can affect the prices of the value of the credits produced in an offset program. Project development costs and certification from a respected organization, projects that absorb CO2 and projects with added social and environmental advantages can all command a higher price. Carbon credits with older vintages tend to be valued lower on the market. The vintage is the year in which the carbon emissions reduction project generates the carbon offset credit. Certification programs are a key component of this community. In 2022, voluntary carbon market prices ranged from $8 to $30 per ton of CO2 for the most common types of offset projects.

Risks of the current market

Dr Moustafa also informed Kuwait Times about potential drawbacks and uncertainties such as carbon leakage, overallocation of credits, lack of additionality and inaccurate emission accounting. She added it is important to note that these risks can be managed and mitigated through proper design and transparency.

Carbon credit for Kuwait

Kuwait has huge potential to implement this into their system in the future, according to Shariq Ahmed, who works as an HSE Specialist in a Kuwait petroleum company. “Several factors could influence the implementation and success of carbon credits or an emission trading system, as Kuwait’s economy profoundly depend on oil exports, and the oil industry is a major supplier to its carbon emissions.

The availability of technologies for monitoring and reporting emissions is important for an effective ETS or carbon credit system. Precise measurement is necessary to ensure the integrity of emission reductions,” he said. Kuwait Finance House supported the first carbon offset platform in 2021. Its aim was to mitigate carbon emissions by increasing tree plantings and starting new environmental projects. But Kuwait has still not established a proper emissions trading system.


Read more on Kuwait Times



Top 5 ways to slash carbon emissions in the construction industry


Top 5 ways to slash carbon emissions in the construction industry

As public concerns are mounting, governments are taking action, bringing in environmental targets designed to thwart runaway global warming, for the Certainty of hitting new temperature highs is nowadays unquestionable.

Globally, the sector contributes around 23% of air pollution, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 50% of all landfill wastes.

Meanwhile, the built environment as a whole is responsible for 30% of total global final energy consumption and 27% of total energy sector emissions, according to the IEA.

Populations around the world are already grappling with the impacts of climate crisis and environmental breakdown, from melting permafrosts and ice in the polar regions, to increases in extreme weather across the globe, creating greater risks of wildfires, floods and droughts while rising sea levels and worsening storms threaten coastal communities.

As public concerns are mounting, governments are taking action – bringing in environmental targets designed to thwart runaway global warming and help turn the tide on ecological destruction.

To stay ahead of the forces driving global business, construction firms must re-evaluate the pivotal role in how our species interacts with the planet.

Five key ways they can do this include:

1. Not building

Instead of resource-intensive new-builds, retrofitting existing building stock must play a much bigger role.

Last year the International Energy Agency called for 20 per cent of all existing building stock to be retrofitted by the year 2030 in order for the world to meet its climate targets, and said it should be a “key” focus of the construction industry’s decarbonisation efforts.

The organisation has called for an annual “deep renovation rate” of over 2% from now to 2030 and beyond.

2. Planning for long-term environmental gains

If new building works must go ahead they should start with a wholesale consideration of their form, function and impact on society, and how these impacts can be mitigated. This starts with planning.

Urban planners can make the built environment more environmentally friendly by adopting eco-friendly design approaches at an early stage.

This includes minimising land use, prioritising connections to public transport networks and walking and cycling routes to discourage private car use, and increasing access to green and blue spaces such as parks and bodies of water, which can enhance air quality, protect some natural resources and boost the health and well-being of the people in the environment.

Furthermore, the importance of implementing high Environmental Social Governance (ESG) standards within the industry is growing rapidly. As pressure for the construction industry to clean up its act grows, so too is the requirement for ESG standards, which should one day become a compulsory and universal system for evaluating the sustainability of both new developments and retrofitted buildings.

3.  Incorporating passive design and renewable energy

Passive design features combined with renewable energy can dramatically lower the carbon footprint of a completed building when it is in use.

This starts with selecting suitable building locations and orientations to make the best possible use of the natural environmental conditions.

Then, layout of rooms, window design, insulation, thermal mass, rain collection, shade and ventilation, all play significant roles in making a building as efficient as possible.

Passive House–certified homes use an estimated 80% less energy for heating and cooling than conventional buildings.

With the addition of solar panels or wind turbines for power generation and water heating, energy demands – and therefore environmental impacts – can be even lower. A new generation of photovoltaic solar-tiles promise even greater levels of flexibility and enhanced returns on investment.

Meanwhile, geothermal heat pumps and air-source heat pumps have enormous levels of efficiency in comparison to traditional gas boilers.

4. Cementing a concrete lead

Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence and is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.

Described as “the most destructive material on earth”, the production of cement, which is used to make concrete, is responsible for up to 8% of global CO2 emissions and would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world if listed as a country in its own right, causing up to 2.8bn tonnes of CO2 a year, surpassed only by China and the US.

Reduction in cement use is vital. This can be done by using recycled materials in the mix, reducing the amount of cement used, and using alternative materials such as fly ash or slag.

5. Choosing sustainable building materials

As well as reducing usage of concrete or mixing less damaging kinds of concrete, there are also various alternatives to concrete which take a much lower environmental toll on the planet. These include hempcrete, which is made from hemp plants mixed with a lime-based binder. This forms a lightweight, breathable construction material with excellent insulation properties.

Another alternative is rammed earth, which is made by compressing soil into a formwork. It is durable, low-maintenance, and has excellent thermal mass properties.

Other exciting modern breakthroughs in construction materials include straw bale construction, cross-laminated timber (CLT), and bamboo, all of which can often be produced with low impacts to the environment, and match existing construction materials for strength and practicality.


For companies to thrive and survive, embracing the health of our planet is a must. With the Cop28 summit in Dubai on the horizon, and the hosts warning that the IPCC has already “made it crystal clear that we are way off track”, the importance of adopting ambitious targets to achieve sustainable building has never been greater.