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Kuwait′s climate crisis: A scorching nation in denial | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

Kuwait′s climate crisis: A scorching nation in denial | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

Pigeons take cover under the shade of trees on the seafront of Kuwait City

Kuwait is a land of superlatives when it comes to climate crisis. The tiny, wealthy nation nestled between Saudi Arabia and Iraq is a top-ranked country. Oil producersAnd has one the highest levels per capita of emissions.  

The country emitted more CO2 in 2020 than it did in 2020. Our World in Data reportThe Democratic Republic of Congo recorded 0.03 tons. 

But Kuwait is also feeling the extreme effects of global warming. A region in the northwest reached 54 degrees Celsius (127.2 Fahrenheit) in 2016. That’s the third highest temperature ever recorded on Earth — the highest in recent history. Last year, there were 19 days where temperatures soared to 50 degrees Celcius or higher, AccuWeather forecasts.  

The country can become almost unlivable due to the heat waves and scorching heat. Birds have dropped dead from the sky and seahorses have boiled to death in the bay, news agency AP reported. Rising sea temperatures could cause maritime species and their habitats to migrate to other parts, threatening the local fish market.  

Pigeons take cover under the shade of trees on the seafront of Kuwait City

To escape the heat, pigeons seek refuge under trees along the Kuwait City’s seafront to get shade.

Exposed to scorching temperatures for long periods of time can lead to heat exhaustion, heart problems, or even death in humans.  

People who have the means can seek refuge from the scorching heat in malls and their air-conditioned offices or homes. Kuwait’s high use of fossil-fueled energy is one reason for its high need for artificial cooling. A 2020 studyIt was found that 67% of electricity used by residences comes via air conditioning. Another important factor is that the government subsidises electricity costs so heavily that residents don’t have an incentive curb their consumption. 

People walk inside a shopping mall in Farwaniya Governorate, Kuwait

If it’s scorching hot, people who are able to seek refuge in air-conditioned homes or offices can do so.

Some people can’t escape the confines of their homes. Kuwait has a large population. Migrants – about 70%, According to the International Organization for MigrationMany of them work outdoors in construction or agriculture, as well as delivery. A ScienceDirect studyResearchers found that nonkuwaiti males were at greater risk of death when temperatures rise than local men. 

Kuwaiti workers take shelter from the sun under a tree in Kuwait City

Many migrants can’t escape the heat and don’t have the luxury or time to escape.

In addition to more frequent dust storms and flooding, the country has seen rising levels. All of these are things that residents are paying attention to. According to a report from the London School of Economics.  

Many aren’t aware that the crisis has its root causes. The study found that older generations are more likely than others to dismiss climate issues as an act by God and to resist solutions like public transport. 

A row of Kuwaiti national flags are pictured along a highway during a heavy sand storm in the capital Kuwait City

Kuwait has seen more frequent dust and sand storms.

This lack of urgency is alarming for environmentalists.  

Oil-rich neighbors Saudi ArabiaThe United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have already committed to net-zero emission reductions in the next decade. Kuwait’s promise to reduce greenhouse emissions by 7.4% was a little timid at the COP26 summit held in Glasgow last year.

See Also

A man overlooks an oil field in Kuwait

The nation is entirely dependent on fossil fuels. And the country’s energy demand is expected to triple by 2030


The Gulf nation is still entirely dependent on fossil fuels as its energy source. According to the Ministry of Electricity and Water in Kuwait, the country’s energy needs will triple by 2030. One factor could be the country’s unsustainable electricity consumption, but also the fact the rising temperatures will drive more people to use indoor cooling.  

Kuwait is at risk of not being able to sustain its own consumption by not diversifying its energy sources. It also risks making parts of the country uninhabitable.  

A man looks on as four camels walk past in the desert

The country could become uninhabitable if it fails to take climate change seriously

Edited by Tamsin Walker

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