The UAE, on its part, deserves praise for doing everything possible to tackle the consequences of climate change.
Climate change is accelerating faster than efforts to counter it and laxity on the part of the international community could prove disastrous for future generations.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has indicated that the start of this year has seen warm record daily winter temperatures in Europe, unusual cold in North America and searing heat waves in Australia. The extent of ice in the Arctic and Antarctica is yet again well below average.
From now until May, WMO also forecasts above-average sea surface temperatures, which are expected to lead to above-normal land temperature, particularly in tropical latitudes.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is absolutely correct when he says that the increasing number of natural disasters and dangers linked to climate change represents another strong wake-up call to the world, which must be countered by finding sustainable solutions quickly.
The challenge comes on multiple fronts. Ocean heat also hit a record high in 2018 raising urgent new concerns about the threat global warming is posing to marine life. The WMO has reaffirmed that the last four years had been the hottest on record. Last year saw new heat records for the ocean’s upper 2,000 metres, but data for that range only goes back to 2005.
About 93 per cent of excess heat — trapped around the Earth by greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels — accumulates in the world’s oceans.
What comes as a consolation, though, is the fact that a growing number of people, governments, cities and businesses understand that climate solutions can strengthen our economies and improve air quality and public health.
Inspired by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who began going on strike from school on Fridays, thousands of under 21s across Germany joined weekly marches rather than sitting in class and this a clear indication that there is growing awareness about the perils of climate change among all age groups.
The UAE, on its part, deserves praise for doing everything possible to tackle the consequences of climate change and promoting efforts to adapt at the national level by moving to a low-carbon green economy in line with the 2015-2030 UAE Green Agenda, the National Climate Change Plan 2017-2050 and the UAE Energy Strategy 2050.
On Saturday, the UAE will join more than 188 countries in marking the Earth Hour 2019, switching off lights to show its commitment to protect the planet and raise environmental awareness.
In 2008, the UAE became the first country in the Arab world to participate in Earth Hour. Over the years, Earth Hour events have contributed to raising awareness about energy conservation.
In the UAE, Earth Hour will draw attention to nature loss and shed light on the importance of living sustainably, whether it’s through the use of less plastic, less energy consumption or conserving water.
In this year’s UAE chapter of Earth Hour, Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF, has urged each and every resident to take part in this global initiative.
There is a need for everyone to unite, connect to nature and stand together for the planet.
Whether it is by being energy-efficient, eating less red meat, using public transport or choosing sustainable products, now is the time to adopt new habits, as Laila Mostafa Abdullatif points out.