Code Red: UN climate report warns govts worldwide
August 11 2021 10:57 PM
Ghanim al-Sulaiti
Ghanim al-Sulaiti

By Ghanim al-Sulaiti

A ‘code red for humanity’— that’s what we’re facing if humans don’t take immediate action according to a new, major climate report issued by the United Nations (UN) that’s shaken governments worldwide.

Human activity is ‘unequivocally’ responsible for climate change and humanity has only a few years left to keep the planet from warming 1.5°C

The UN reported that a global shift to vegan eating is required to combat the worst effects of climate change, with animal agriculture alone responsible for up to nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions. Scientists have once again concluded: if everyone were to adopt a plant-based diet, we would save up to 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually and use 76 percent less land.

We have the solutions. We have the power to reverse this unprecedented crisis. Why are we not taking this more seriously?

The researchers found that the global meat and dairy industries are responsible for 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers also found that if meat and dairy production were to cease, global farmland use would be reduced by 75 percent, and we would not be in the mess that we are in.

A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth. This is a fact confirmed time and time again.

And if we think this is someone else’s problem – we need to think again. The report highlighted that, in terms of the most polluting countries per capita (i.e, in relation to each person) in 2017 in terms of Co2; the State of Qatar is the world’s most polluting country at 37.05 tonnes. Yes, we have a very small population, and so many argue this is why we are considered more polluting per person…but the fact is there are at least 25 other nations that are equally as developed as us, and equally as small as us in terms of population, and they didn’t reach anywhere near the top of the worst-polluters list.

We must change our ways. We must confront the climate crisis. We must do more.

What we are doing already is evidently not enough.

At the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stated, “The phenomenon of climate change is undoubtedly one of the serious challenges of our time. It is a problem that is continuously exacerbating and causing many problems which intertwine in their economic, environmental and social dimensions and have very serious negative repercussions on all forms of life including human life and on both developed and developing countries alike, especially on the tracks of the sustainable development which all peoples aspire to.”

As a nation, we should think about what HH The Amir said more often, not least because Qatar is among the 10 countries that would be most impacted by sea level rise in terms of percentage of land area and wetlands affected.

From a government perspective, I think the country already started to realise the situation we may find ourselves in. In response, in October 2019, Qatar announced the commissioning of a carbon storage plant, the largest of its kind in the region. It aims to capture over five million tons of CO2 per year from Qatar’s LNG industry by 2025. Additionally, Qatar Investment Authority is a founding member of the ‘One Planet’ Global Sovereign Wealth Fund, which has been established to promote green investments and accelerate efforts to consider environmental issues in the investment sector and management of sovereign wealth funds.  Zero-emission investments represent 44 percent of the fund's infrastructure projects.

It’ll be a big help in helping bring the nation more in line with the rest of the world in terms of combatting climate change, and I’m grateful that we have strong leadership taking decisive action on climate change…but it’s our way of life as individuals that must make the same adaptations too. We can’t leave everything to governments, decision makers, leaders.

If you swapped your usual meat and dairy breakfast today for a plant-based breakfast —you’re helping play your part. If you decide Monday is ‘meat free Monday’ — you’re helping play your part. If you’re educating your children, talking about plant-based foods, researching the benefits to your body, to your health and to the environment — you’re helping play your part.

We all have a part to play. Each and every one of us.

* The author is an expert in vegan wellbeing and health. Instagram handle: @Ghanim92  

Last updated: August 12 2021 02:41 AM

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