Humans responsible for ‘irreversible’ climate change, UN warns

Humans responsible for ‘irreversible’ climate change, UN warns
Environmental protester chats to a cyclist as he stands with placards and plastic bottles in London on Monday. The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report calls the climate change clearly human-caused and “unequivocal.” (AP)
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Updated 10 August 2021

Humans responsible for ‘irreversible’ climate change, UN warns

Humans responsible for ‘irreversible’ climate change, UN warns
  • UN report urges supply of affordable energy with minimum impact on environment

LONDON: Changes to the climate, including more severe weather events and rising sea levels, are irreversible and only more large-scale action by humanity can stop it spiraling out of control, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report today.

The world will pass the 1.5 C warming threshold that the 2015 Paris Agreement aimed to avoid within 20 years. The temperature could jump by 2.0 C by 2060 and 2.7 C by the century’s end, the IPCC said in its latest update, which drew on 14,000 scientific studies.

“The alarm bells are deafening,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”

In three months’ time, the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland will try to wring much more ambitious climate action out of the nations of the world, and the money to go with it.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he hoped the report would be “a wake-up call for the world to take action now, before we meet in Glasgow.”

The report says emissions “unequivocally caused by human activities” have already pushed the average global temperature up 1.1 C from its pre-industrial average. They would have raised it 0.5 C further without the cooling effect of pollution in the atmosphere, it said.

Some climate changes are already unavoidable, according to the report. Greenland’s sheet of land-ice is “virtually certain” to continue melting, which will in turn raise the sea level for centuries to come as the oceans warm and expand.

“We are now committed to some aspects of climate change, some of which are irreversible for hundreds to thousands of years,” said IPCC co-author Tamsin Edwards, a climate scientist at King’s College London. “But the more we limit warming, the more we can avoid or slow down those changes.” 

The only way of meeting the Paris goal of keeping temperature increases to 1.5 C by the end of the century is through negative emissions, which involves sucking more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than is added, the viability of which is questioned by many scientists.

“This report highlights the importance of the Middle East Green and Saudi Green initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to produce energy globally on a sustainable basis,” Cornelia Meyer, CEO of energy consultancy Meyer Resources, told Arab News. “As we still need oil and gas, we still need producers and we need to look at other technologies beyond renewables, such as carbon capture.”

She added: “We need to look at all methods to ensure people can be supplied with affordable energy while having a minimum impact on the environment.”


EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister

EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister
Updated 19 sec ago

EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister

EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister

RIYADH: Global supply chains need to be rethought to reduce the impacts of humanitarian or geopolitical crises, France’s foreign trade minister has told the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh.

Franck Riester highlighted the health, energy and food sectors in particular as areas where the current system is susceptible to fluctuations, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister said the European Union is already seeking to diversify its suppliers in a number of areas, and flagged up closer working with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as part of this.

The GCC will be "good partners" in a post-pandemic world, he said.


Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets
Updated 13 min 54 sec ago

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets

LONDON: Sterling touched a new 20-month high against the euro on Tuesday, driven by diverging interest rate expectations for Britain and the eurozone, though concerns over economic growth and EU ties kept the currency broadly flat on the day.

Money markets are pricing in a rate hike by the Bank of England at its Nov. 4 meeting, helping the pound rally around 2 oercebt versus the euro and the dollar so far this month .

The euro, meanwhile, is being dogged by signs the European Central Bank will be among the last to raise interest rates in the developed world. Monday data showing German business morale deteriorating for the fourth month running in October, cemented expectations of a dovish message from Thursday’s ECB meeting.

By 0850 GMT, sterling traded at 84.2 pence to the euro, 0.2 percent firmer on the day at the highest since February 2020, while against the dollar it was marginally firmer at $1.378, having come off five-week highs touched last week.

However, Britain's weak economic data — including last Friday’s unexpected drop in retail sales — has capped the pound’s gains. Short-dated gilt yields too have slipped from 17-month highs hit last week, with fears growing that impending policy tightening will exacerbate the slowdown.

“Euro-sterling is trading close to the bottom end of its post-referendum low on BoE hike expectations. But UK growth momentum is weakening, which could see euro-sterling turn,” Bilal Hafeez, head of the MacroHive consultancy, told clients.

There are also concerns around potential tax hikes that may be unveiled in Wednesday's budget announcement, alongside EU-UK wrangling over provisions that govern post-Brexit trade between Britain, Northern Ireland, and EU member Ireland.

Britain has threatened to take unilateral action if a solution cannot be found at the ongoing talks, which some reckon could emerge as a serious headwind for the pound.


Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040
Updated 29 min 20 sec ago

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

Ma’aden pledges 60% emissions cut by 2040

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma’aden, will cut carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2040 and reduce groundwater consumption by 65 percent, its chief executive said in an interview with Al-Arabiya. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Abdulaziz Al-Harbi said the production at the mining company would not slow.

The mining company on Monday posted profit of SR1.27 billion ($339 million), after deduction of zakat and taxes, in the first nine months of the year as compared to SR6.47 million a year ago. Revenue over the same period rose 44 percent to SR6.7 billion.


Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor
Updated 48 min 42 sec ago

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Crypto too close to criminals, says SAMA governor

Saudi Arabia’s central bank (SAMA) should have no involvement with crypto-assets as many of those who deal with them are criminals, according to its governor.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Fahad Al Mubarak claimed there would be no smashing of the banking system by digital currencies such as Bitcoin, but instead an expansion of a centralized system for regulating the tender.

Regulators are still playing catch-up when it comes to how crypto-curencies should be governed, he added.

Hussain Abdulla, co-CEO of Qatar-based investment bank QInvest, claimed the products were not yet Sharia-compliant, and more understanding was needed.

Abdulla warned though that the Middle East is lagging way behind the US and Europe when it comes to digitization of the banking industry, adding: “Winners in the banking industry will be those who take steps today toward digitization rather than later.”

The SAMA governor talked up the rise of online banking during the Covid-19 crisis, and said: “Before the pandemic only 35 percent of the transactions were electronic, now it’s around 55 percent “


Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework
Updated 26 October 2021

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

Dubai’s DIFC regulator issues first part of digital assets framework

DUBAI: The regulator for DIFC, Dubai’s state-owned financial free zone and the Middle East’s major finance center, has released the first part of a regulatory framework for digital tokens aimed at opening up trading of the fast-growing asset class.

The move by the Dubai Financial Services Authority comes as Gulf countries start to look at how to regulate digital assets to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.

The framework initially covers security and derivative tokens it refers to as investment tokens — digital representations of rights and obligations equivalent to those conferred by assets such as shares or futures contracts, issued, transferred and stored using distributed ledger technology such as blockchain.

It expects to issue another consultation this year for tokens not yet covered by the regulation, including exchange tokens — also known as cryptocurrencies — utility tokens and some asset-backed tokens known as stablecoins.

Last month, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority agreed a framework that allows DWTCA to approve and license financial activities relating to crypto assets.

 Bahrain in 2019 released rules regulating crypto assets.