How is the MENA region addressing climate change?

February 8, 2024

The MENA (Middle East +North Africa) region boasts a rich engineering heritage, characterised by magnificent architectural marvels ranging from ancient structures like the pyramids of Egypt to innovative projects like the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

The development of large-scale, ambitious projects symbolises progress, prosperity, and cultural identity. However, as the
climate crisis intensifies, there is a significant shift towards sustainable engineering practices throughout the region.

Cultural nuances bring unique expectations and engineering challenges, exacerbated by the harsh climate, water scarcity, and regulatory compliance.

Key challenges include:

  • Rising temperatures exceeding the global average.
  • Water scarcity due to political factors like the blocking of major rivers.
  • Rising sea levels threatening coastal cities and infrastructure.
  • Desertification and aridity reducing arable lands, disrupting agriculture.

Despite these hurdles, bold steps are being taken towards sustainability, with several countries setting national goals:

  • The UAE aims for net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Saudi Arabia targets 50% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Egypt plans to transition to 42% renewable energy by 2035.
  • Qatar strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.

COP28, hosted in the UAE, demonstrates the country’s commitment to a better future.

Leading countries like the UAE are diversifying from oil-dependence, inspiring a new generation of eco-conscious
engineers committed to sustainability.

Dubai, for instance, are focused on sustainable construction, innovative designs like the Al Bahr Towers, featuring dynamic
facades to optimise natural light and reduce energy consumption.

Dubai’s goal includes saving 1.4 TWH of electricity, 4.9 billion gallons of water, and producing 1 million tonnes less CO2 emissions.

The key takeaway is that sustainability starts with visible commitments that will represent significant steps forward.

While challenges remain, like financing, policy barriers, local skills development, and resistance to change, there is
definite change of mindset which key to moving forwards.

In addition, there is a willingness to contribute significantly to global sustainability efforts.

We all have a part to play in driving towards a greener future, be that on a grand or small scale!

 

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