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Climate Change and the Risks it Poses to the World’s Hottest Sea

Nov 01, 2021

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) organized an event on “Climate Change and the Risks it Poses to the World’s Hottest Sea”, as part of the Flagship Projects Program Activities in the Research Directorate. The event took place on the 13th of October, 2021 and was organized in collaboration with the British Embassy in Kuwait and the Centre for Environmental Sciences, Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS), presented by Dr John Pinnegar, Director of the International Centre for Marine Climate Change and a co-author of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for this year.

170 participants from 23 countries attended the event, from researchers, academics, and the public. In addition to other local bodies such as the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), the Environment Public Authority (EPA), the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) and Kuwait University (KU), and several regional and international bodies from USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Australia, Malaysia, Egypt, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya, Oman, Iraq and Turkey.

The purpose of this event was to discuss the social and economic consequences of climate change on the marine and coastal environment of countries bordering the Arabian Gulf Region, the danger of sea level rise on coastal infrastructure with a high population density, as well as the impact of high temperatures and low oxygen levels on marine life.

Dr Mohammad Al-Ramadhan, Director of the Research Directorate and Acting Deputy Director General for Strategic Thrust Programs at KFAS, gave an opening remark on this occasion in which he indicated that climate change is one of the challenges facing this era and that it constitutes a serious and continuing threat to sustainable development. Dr Al-Ramadhan further stated that the world is looking forward to the recommendations of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that will be held in Glasgow, UK during the next few days to agree on effective means to address the challenges of climate change.

Additionally, Dr Al-Ramadhan highlighted KFAS’ continuous efforts to prompt innovative solutions to meet these challenges as part of its strategy.

Her Excellency the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Kuwait stated that this event is an example of bilateral cooperation to build consensus on the risks posed by climate change to the Gulf region, adding that we must protect the oceans to avoid further impacts of climate change and reduce emissions that cause global warming. The Ambassador noted that World Leaders will meet on the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK to renew commitments to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. Achieving these goals will be essential to protect our oceans, which are projected to lose 99% of their coral reefs at a temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius.

The speaker, Dr John Pinnegar, highlighted the effects of climate change on the marine and coastal environment of all countries bordering the Arabian Gulf (ROPME sea area), including the deterioration of infrastructure and ecosystems as temperature rises and oxygen levels decrease and the increase of sea acidity. Additionally, Dr Pinnegar addressed the efforts of the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), which launched a three-year regional action plan to mitigate climate change.