Authorities in Qatar have taken up an ambitious and somewhat controversial project. The project is aimed at dealing with the rising temperatures in Qatar by air-conditioning the outside in Qatar. The said project, however, might end up worsening the situation since the cooling will be using energy from fossil fuels.
Qatar currently sees summer temperatures of up to 46 degrees Celsius. Qatar has already started air-conditioning its football stadiums for its preparation for the World Cup in 2022. However, now streets and outdoor markets are also being cooled down. Qatar is the biggest per-capita emitter country of greenhouse gases as per the World Bank, and the prevailing fear is that it might become uninhabitable soon.
If the average global warming gets to 2 degrees Celsius, Qatar’s temperatures will rise. Mohammed Ayoub is the senior research director at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute said, ‘We’re talking about 4 to 6 degrees Celsius increase in an area that already experiences high temperatures. So, what we’re looking at more is the question of how does this impacts the health and productivity of the population.’
The risks are high in Qatar, owing to the high levels of humidity. Humidity causes so much problem because it ceases evaporation. This prevents the body from cooling off via sweating. Jos Lelieveld, who is an atmospheric chemist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and an expert on Middle East climate, said, ‘If it’s hot and humid and the relative humidity is close to 100 percent, you can die from the heat you produce yourself.’
The World Cup in Qatar has already been delayed by about five months because of the risk that fans would be exposed to because of the heat. The government has plans for making the World Cup carbon-neutral, but experts have already said that such a goal is unrealistic. The situation in Qatar warrants the following question; what will it take for the world leaders to start acting against climate change?