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Effects Of A High Carbon Footprint

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2118 words Published: 12th May 2017

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High carbon emissions in the last two decades are slowly leading to excessive climate change. Some already visible consequences are warming of the planet, radiative warming, shift of Earth’s natural balance towards warming, and depletion of natural resources. Due to global warming, the last decade was recorded to be the warmest ever (Jaines, 2010) Earth is slowly turning into a different planet which is evident by the changes in average temperatures. Scientists say that high carbon emissions will cause rise in sea levels across the globe, and extinction of various species. Furthermore, they have an impact on the greenhouse effect which causes the reduction of the amount of sunlight and heat that is reflected back into space. This increases the average temperatures globally, especially the Arctic temperatures which causes the melting of ice. Melting ice releases methane in the atmosphere, which is 20 times more dangerous as a greenhouse gas than CO2. (Kage, 2007) Due to high temperatures and rise in sea levels, there is a danger that many species of plants and animals will extinct. For example, world oceans are currently absorbing 1/3rd of excess carbon dioxide emissions, and therefore, becoming acidic and threatening sea species. This will cause a shortage of fish stocks and coral reefs which will eventually alter the world’s food chain. Similar things will happen to any other food sources. The indicated will have an effect on the economy since the food is going to be scarce and its prices are going to be rising. Moreover, due to increases in temperatures, the world is within 70 years going to be facing frequent storms, floods, and tornados. (Fraser, 2006) It is predicted that by 2050, temperatures are going to increase by 2.1-2.8 ͦC compared to the historical average, and by 2100, the Earth is predicted to be 4.3-5.3 ͦC warmer. Globally, sea levels could rise by 59 cm within the next century. (The Problem, 2012). Lastly, greenhouse effect causes depletion in ozone which further leads to global warming. If there are ozone damages, then there is a higher chance of skin cancer, burning skin due to the direct contact with the sun. These changes in climate will also affect human health in sense of the increase of various disease carrying insects due to warming. (MOFA)

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National level

Studies and predictions for UAE say that the rises in its sea levels by 1 meter could affect almost up to 1,155 square kilometers of land. This would cause, even in lesser numbers, terrible effects on UAE’s islands, infrastructure, marine life, health, tourism, business, and economy. (The Problem, 2012) With already high temperatures, a bigger rise in the upcoming decades will cause a bigger need for energy production and cooling systems infrastructure causing a raise in carbon emissions if new energy sources won’t be used. Scarcity of food caused by damages to marine and terrestrial life will boost prices of food, causing an even bigger need for import. This will directly affect UAE’s economy and business as food and water prices rise. Scarcity of water might impact the region even more intensely, causing problems in many segments, such as households, industry, import, export, tourism, and economy. Even now, desalination of water is the only source of drinking water in UAE and requires a lot of energy. Even bigger scarcity of water would terribly affect the region. Infrastructure will either be destroyed by rising sea levels or natural disasters, or it will have to be adapted to the new situations. Both scenarios will make for a big loss of money and resources; therefore, it will cause a big damage in economy, and eventually on every individual living in the country.

Individual level

The biggest impact high carbon footprint has on the citizens of UAE are on their health and safety. All these emitted gases pollute the air which humans inhale; the gases penetrate deep into their respiratory systems and therefore, affect both respiratory and cardiovascular systems causing asthma, heart diseases, and premature death. Using fertilizers can also damage people’s health, as well as the sun impact and higher temperatures, which often cause heart failures and temperature shocks. Besides health issues, scarcity of food and water obviously affects people’s lives, causing them to spend more and more. Using more air conditioners with the rise of temperature often causes viral and bacterial diseases.

Current Efforts of UAE Government

Renewable Energy

Even though UAE lacks most of the widespread renewable energy sources, such as biomass, tidal power, and water, one thing that UAE has more than enough is solar energy. In 2010, Abu Dhabi has started working on one of the world’s largest solar power plants. The development of the geothermal cooling in Masdar City has also started recently. (MOFA)

Peaceful Nuclear Power

It is known that nuclear energy has a nearly zero carbon footprint. Therefore, replacing the current ways of producing electrical and other types of energy with nuclear energy would contribute significantly to less carbon emissions. Currently a huge nuclear energy sector is being developed in UAE, consisting of 4 nuclear power reactors, which are believed to be finished and ready for full work by 2017. (MOFA)


Trying to increase the participation in public transport, the UAE has increased the number of buses, and still planning to implement more of them. Besides that, the Dubai’s Metro has been the newest, successful addition to UAE’s public transport. Future plans include new transit light systems all over the country, and a high speed train. (MOFA)

Carbon Capture and Storage (clean fossil fuels)

Building storages underground to capture the emitted CO2 from plants and burned fossil fuels without releasing it further in the atmosphere. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says CCS could contribute between 10% and 55% of the cumulative worldwide carbon mitigation effort over the next 90 years.” (MOFA)

Al Basma Al Beeiyah Intiative

Launched in October 2007 by the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, the Emirates Wildlife Society, and the Global Footprint Network, its initiative is to better understand UAE’s ecological and carbon footprint, and monitor consumption patterns in the country. Measuring carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, the project is evaluating and implementing solutions for a better future. Researches and scientists from Masdar Institute have been leading this project with the aim to inspect how the development of power and water might affect UAE’s carbon footprint up to 2030, and accordingly develop alternative energy productions. (UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative)


UAE government made some campaigns in UAE that raise awareness which include Heroes of the UAE, Environment agency – Abu Dhabi etc. Heroes of the UAE campaign is designed to make people know about energy shortages and the effect of climate change. This campaign supplies people with easy tips on how to save energy. By making small changes in every day’s behavior people can easily contribute in the global efforts to reduce consumption. (Abu Dhabi, 2012)Furthermore, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi helps in conservation of water, climate change awareness and improving air quality by running environmental education and awareness courses and programs.

Solutions and Recommendations

Individual level

Turn off home appliances if not used or needed; unplug from the power chord

Do not overcharge cell phones and laptops

Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs as it saves 60% of energy, yet providing the same brightness (What Is Carbon Footprint, 2012)

Individuals can buy more energy efficient vehicles to help reduce carbon footprint

People should use their vehicles only when required and use public transport or consider walking otherwise

They should also use energy efficient devices as well as renewable energy sources and insulation at home to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases or heat loss

Try carpooling; driving several people in one car can reduce a lot of carbon emissions coming from cars

Slow down, try keeping to the speed limit. Driving at 80mph burns 10% more fuel than driving at 60mph. (What action can we take, 2011)

Only boil the amount of water you need in your kettle

Make sure taps are fully turned off and fix leaking taps. A dripping hot water tap wastes not only water but energy too. (What action can we take, 2011)

National level

Use sustainable forms of energy like solar energy, and wind energy

Creating organizations which could help reduce carbon footprint

The government should also make sure that only the necessary amount of cement is being used for the manufacture of buildings

The government should also make sure that there are less amount of industries in the country which could be harmful for the environment

The government should set up some awareness campaigns and workshops for the citizens to spread more awareness on how to reduce carbon footprint at home or elsewhere

Diversification of resources is necessary for saving resources (DUBAI STRATEGY DEVELOPED TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS)

Successful implementation of Envitech’s Green Buildings Project- development of buildings that require almost no external energy and consume the lowest possible amount of fresh water (Green Buildings Project)

Building hydrogen power plants and nuclear power plants in order to develop clean energy and reduce carbon emissions

Involve business organizations in reducing their collective carbon footprint in the offices; by doing this these organizations would become more competitive in the market

Using biosolids as a fertilizer in agriculture since it is organic and allows the reduction of irrigation requirement (Al Wathba Veolia Besix Waste Water , 2012)

Encourage more public transport, more physical activity, and walking

Build more green spaces, parks, places for walking where there would a possibility to walk to malls or any other place instead of driving

Establish recycling plants and companies

Global level

Stop deforestation; encourage reforestation in all parts of the world

Avoid manufacturing of the buildings and industries which are not required

Introduce the concepts of green and clean energy everywhere around the world

Encourage the use of solar and wind energy everywhere around the world to produce electrical energy; open more nuclear power plants but with safety precautions and educate people about their plus-sides

Encourage business organizations world-wide to start making their business greener; the prospective interest parties should evaluate business companies according to how environmental-friendly they are

Financing companies should provide loans to help achieve objectives related to reducing carbon footprint to governments of different countries, especially to those with economic instability or less money

Stricter family planning laws should be implemented globally to control the ever growing world population that is one of the major causes of this problem

Committees everywhere around the world should be set up to educate the underprivileged people about the harmful effects of high carbon footprint

Make laws which would aim towards conserving energy and water, such as putting limits on the usage per person/apartment, or increasing prices which would stop people from over-spending for unnecessary reasons

Provide awards for companies that implement eco-friendly strategies

Encourage ethanol, biodiesel and hydropower-produced hydrogen as alternative fuel options since they produce less greenhouse gases

Recycle water so it can be reused for agricultural and irrigation purposes (Al Wathba Veolia Besix Waste Water , 2012)

UN should establish more organizations everywhere around the world to raise awareness and educate people on how to protect our environment

Divesting from oil stocks and investing in companies practicing carbon capture and storage (Biello, 2007)

Restricting flying to only critical, long-distance trips; trains can replace planes for short- to medium-distance trips (Biello, 2007)


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