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The Battles of the Rich… and the Battles of the Poor

Al-Etihad, UAE, October 6

If there is a child that the UN General Assembly should listen to, it is not the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, but the one in five children in the world who is a victim of war, according to a recent Save the Children report. I have only one question to our world leaders: How dare you talk about the threat of global climate change while 420 million children have been killed in the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan and Somalia, including a million children who die before reaching the age of five? These deaths are the real, irreversible threats to humanity. Thankfully, global climate change can be mitigated using state-of-the-art technologies designed to minimize man’s impact on the environment. Today, gases emitted during the burning of fuel, alongside other greenhouse gases accumulated in Earth’s atmosphere, are being isolated and turned into stones that pave our streets and construct our buildings. Swiss technologies, for example, can now catch carbon dioxide gases directly from the atmosphere, compress them, mix them with water and bury them underground, leading to their conversion into basalt rock. Indeed, carbon sequestration technologies received major attention in the Paris Global Climate Agreement, which was set forth to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. Several pilot plants have already been set up in Switzerland, Iceland and Canada, one of which captures about 900 tons of carbon annually, a figure equivalent to the pollution level released from 200 cars. For comparison, the world currently releases 40 billion metric tons of carbon per year. Technology today is allowing us to solve the problem of climate change or at least mitigate its adverse effects. But where is the world when it comes to the premature death of millions of innocent civilians, including women and children? Technological advances aimed at protecting our planet are important. But so is basic humanity and empathy toward the suffering of weakened populations – even those in the Arab world. – Mohammed Arif (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)