Technology to stem the tide

They say the best defence is a good offence. Perhaps nowhere will this strategy be more apparent in the coming years than on the coastline of the Emirates.

They say the best defence is a good offence. Perhaps nowhere will this strategy be more apparent in the coming years than on the coastline of the Emirates. With scientists predicting a sea level rise of up to two metres within the next century, defending the Emirates' extensive development on its waterfront requires a prudent amount of foresight - and not a little pre-emption, considering that 85 per cent of the UAE's population and 90 per cent of its infrastructure lie in coastal areas.
As we report today, the country has begun taking provisions against the worst possible scenarios. Efforts to elevate developments well above sea level and construct breakwaters have started on Saadiyat Island, whose natural sand base lies no more than two metres above sea level. Plans to reinforce critical infrastructure are also being developed, urged on by a survey published by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi that warned this week about the danger of rising seas over the next few decades.
While elevating new developments and building levees are some of the more immediate solutions, the UAE is in a unique position to capitalise on its resources to pursue longer-term solutions. Large projects such as the Masdar Initiative and the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency speak to such an agenda. But while reducing global carbon emissions is vital, doing so may not eliminate the need for coastal defence and management.
Not just the Emirates, but the large majority of the Gulf's population is situated on a low-lying plain that demands smart solutions for its preservation if sea levels rise as dramatically as many experts expect. Does the best solution lie in breakwaters, seawalls and dams? In experimental technology that has yet to make a big splash? No one quite knows for sure. But as the World Future Energy Summit kicks off today with participants from over 100 nations, we are reminded how central the Emirates remains in the future of energy - both as a recipient and as an innovator of tomorrow's solutions.

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Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.