A United Nations climate change expert, while speaking at Qatar Foundation (QF), noted that businesses that recognise the need to tackle climate change are positioning themselves for success, while “the writing is on the wall” for those that do not.
Ovais Sarmad, deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in a public lecture as part of QF’s Education City Speaker Series, drove home the message that taking action to combat the environmental crisis facing our planet cannot be delayed.
He told the audience that rather than harming economies and jobs, companies that adopt more sustainable business models are set to reap the benefits while also helping to preserve the planet – but businesses that fail to do this “will not be around for long.”
Sarmad’s talk at Qatar National Library, titled ‘Why Are We Waiting? The Urgency for Tackling the Climate Crisis’, also emphasised the need for fossil fuels to form part of the solution to climate change, and the transition to more renewable forms of energy.
“In taking climate action, there can be a fear that people will suffer because it will create a negative economic impact,” Sarmad told the audience. “The truth could not be further removed.”
“Businesses that are preparing right now for more sustainable economic growth, who are reducing their emissions and working toward carbon neutrality, will thrive. For those who do not, the writing is on the wall. Nobody can do business in a world decimated by climate change, and it’s baffling to me that businesses do not see the advantages of adapting more sustainable business models,” he noted.
Sarmad said that making the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable growth path could boost the global economy by $26 trillion, and create 65 million new jobs in the low-carbon industry, by 2030. But he also stressed that fossil fuels will not, and cannot, simply be eradicated.
“Fossil fuels have literally fuelled the prosperity of this region, and they are not going to disappear overnight,” he said. “That is unrealistic – it would lead to the collapse of the global economy.”
“They will be around for the foreseeable future, so they need to be converted into being part of the solution, through a process of transition that also recognises the needs of employees within this sector,” he added.
Sarmad’s lecture was organised in collaboration with the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, which provides an avenue for young people in Qatar to play active roles in environmental protection and raising awareness of the importance of sustainable living, as part of its Earth Talks series.