Bahrain to cut carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2035

Climate commitment includes 'quadrupling' mangrove area

Bahrain has announced plans to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent over the next 15 years.

Speaking at the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow, Crown Prince and prime minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said the 2035 target includes “quadrupling” the area of Bahrain's mangroves, doubling tree coverage and investing in sustainable technologies.

“While the Kingdom of Bahrain is responsible for just 0.07 per cent of global emissions, we recognise, not least as an island nation, that climate change is a global challenge that requires global solutions,” Mr Al Khalifa said.

“Developing the kinds of technologies necessary to meaningfully address the climate crisis requires us to both act in concert, but also to lead by example.”

Bahrain's mangrove population has been in constant decline since 1975, according to the United Nations.

Mangrove coverage in Tubli Bay in eastern Bahrain shrank from 150 hectares in 1980 to 100 hectares in 1992 and to just 31 hectares today, the Supreme Council for Environment said in a report last year.

Despite its population of 1.7 million, Bahrain also has one of the world’s top 10 largest carbon footprints per capita.

With much of Bahrain's population living on its coasts, the small island state is particularly vulnerable to sea level rises which could have a devastating impact on its fisheries, biodiversity and coral reefs.

Speaking to The National before the summit, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs and Chief Executive of the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) Mohamed bin Mubarak bin Daina praised the high level of public awareness about these risks.

“My children are constantly looking for plastic around the house to recycle,” he said. “We see hundreds of volunteers at beach clean-ups. Even divers volunteer to pick up underwater trash.”

Mr bin Daina described the summit as a “success” even before it began, pointing again to heightened public awareness of climate change.

“Without the public’s support, the governments wouldn’t move on such issues,” he said.

The special envoy had earlier met top Saudi officials at the Saudi Green Initiative summit held in Riyadh on October 23.

“The Gulf Co-operation Council is taking the threat of climate change very seriously”, he said.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia pledged to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2060, while the UAE has said it aims to reach that target by 2050.

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 5:43 PM