The Environmental Challenges Of The 21st Century

In recent years, certainly, environmental challenges like climate change, air pollution, and urbanization affect every human and species. In an article, Smith (2008) mentioned that all across the world, people are facing a wealth of new and challenging environmental problems every day. This shows how these problems are increasing day by day and how it is harming every creature in this world. Moreover, there is widespread awareness of issues such as pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change but these threats must be overcome. Throughout this essay, the environmental challenges and effects that occurred in the 21st century and the effects that it caused will be discussed, followed by listing and evaluating the solutions that the GCC countries used to overcome such problems.

The first environmental challenge that will be discussed is air pollution. The main reasons that cause air pollution are vehicle emissions and urbanization. However, this issue had many effects that negatively impacted the environment. Different pollutants of air pollution have different effects, for example, the carbon monoxide pollutant reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood which results in blurred vision, headache, and death. Moreover, silicon dioxide that happens because of cement industries may cause a cancerous disease. Overall, the harmful outcomes of air pollution include birth defects, heart disease, and lung cancer. “With carbon dioxide emissions four times higher than the world average and eight times more than other Arab countries, the GCC needs to take strong measures to reduce air pollution.” As a result of this, the GCC countries had to think of what should be done to overcome this issue. for this reason, the GCC started to work on it, Bahrain national gas company introduced a project that involves the replacement of NO, which means the reduction of NO and emissions from the power generation station. Furthermore, the motor vehicle standards and technical regulations are being adopted to decrease the number of emissions from gasoline and diesel in the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain.

The next challenge that threatens the world these days is global climate change. “climate change is considered by many security experts to be a greater threat than global terrorism” (Raouf,2008). This issue threatens the world because of people burning fossil fuels and rain forests cutting. Almost all people agreed that climate change has observable effects on the world. An illustration of this, the sea level rises, this happens due to the combination of oceans that gets warmer and polar ice sheets that melt. Also, the rise in temperature affects wildlife and their habitats. Furthermore, since the glaciers “store about three-quarters of the world’s freshwater” (national snow and ice data center), less fresh water will be available. Moreover, some countries are under fire for carbon emissions because of the burning of fossil fuels. For these challenges, gulf countries decided to work on solutions. For instance, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar which is also known as “zero-carbon city”, in this eco-city they use solar energy and other renewable energy only. As well as Qatar plans to build “around 1,000 megawatts of solar power in a bid to diversify its energy mix away from hydrocarbons through a joint venture between Qatar Electricity and Water Company and Qatar Petroleum”.Although this could be a clever solution Qatar should keep in mind that this would have cost competitive.

Finally, biodiversity loss is also one of the challenges that face the world these days. Biodiversity is defined as “the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms and all its interactions” (Carrington,2018). More importantly, this issue has negative results. It affects human health as a human depends on the plants and animals for food and medicines. Moreover, the ecosystem is affected due to habitat loss and the environmental changes that are caused by human which could reduce nature’s ability to provide goods and services. However, in biodiversity, every species, either big or small, plays a big role in the ecosystem so this issue should be taken in concern to have healthy and solid biodiversity without any problems. This problem has been managed by some countries. For instance, Australian farmers in 2008 planted copaifera as a renewable energy source and wood. However, this solution may not be applied everywhere as it is hard to zone as well as it requires a sunny position.

To conclude this essay, some effects and environmental challenges such as air pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change have been outlined and identified. Moreover, the solutions that the GCC countries have thought of and operated to overcome these issues where mentioned and evaluated. Air pollution affected the world with different pollutants but most of the GCC countries have worked on this problem to overcome it. Furthermore, as climate change has threatened most parts of the world, the issue had to be taken in concern and so Qatar, for example, had a solution to build new renewable sources of energy. In the same way, biodiversity loss has affected human health, so they had to work on some solutions. Overall, as this environmental issue has threatened the world and human, countries should continue to think and work on more solutions to overcome such problems.


  • Guessoum, 2018, Air pollution a threat to quality of life in GCC states, Arab News, [accessed 19 Feb 2020]
  • , (2020), [Accessed 24 Feb. 2020].
  • (2020). Facts about glaciers | National Snow and Ice Data Center. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Feb. 2020].
  • Middle East Institute. (2020). Climate Change Threats, Opportunities, and the GCC Countries. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Feb. 2020].
  • Ktbizzn (2016). Climate financing can provide solutions to GCC renewable energy. [online] Khaleej Times. Available at: [Accessed 24 Feb. 2020].
  • Dudley, D. (2020). Can The Middle East Make A Success Of Renewable Energy? It May Not Have A Choice. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Feb. 2020].  
16 December 2021
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