Climate Change & The Recent Tripoli Heatwave

While working on a summer school, we showed students some of the unique things that chemical engineering students at Imperial College London get to study. The main thing that the students were impressed with was the Carbon Capture & Storage plant at Imperial. This is just a method that directly removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it in a reservoir. At the end of the day, we got into a climate change discussion with the students ( between the ages of 15–17 ) and I was surprised by how many of them did not believe that human activity was causing climate change or that we are currently affected by it. With the recent heatwave that hit Tripoli, I thought it would be a good idea to write about climate change and hopefully inform Libyans about this global issue.

As an Earth scientist I was convinced that humans are the cause of climate change through data, but in reality most of the world’s population do not think that a 0.85 degree rise in global temperatures is something to worry about, which is why I wont use any graphs and will simply look at recent events around the world that have been caused by climate change.

Just a few weeks ago Europe was hit with a similar heatwave. In London, we got temperatures up to 34 degrees, this caused major disruptions to transportation services specifically trains. Portugal suffered from wildfires as a result of this heatwave and more than 60 people died. Last year, the UK was hit with record breaking floods, which displaced hundreds of people from their homes and caused damages of more than £1 billion. If we focus on Libya, 90% of our population lives by the coast (which will be affected by rising sea levels) and quite a large portion of Libya is the Sahara desert, so the rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall will only cause the desert area to spread and degrade our lands, which directly affects our farmers and food sources.

We are witnessing the effects of climate change right now through these severe weather events and anyone who still believes climate change is a problem that only their future grandchildren need to worry about are sadly misguided by people such as Trump. Misinforming the public about climate change is advantageous to fossil fuel companies. With less regulations on these companies, they can keep making easy profits instead of investing in renewable technologies.

The lack of electricity and water during these hot summer days in Libya only make the situation worse, so it is a perfect time to put a spotlight on the environmental issues we face in Libya and raise awareness on climate change. Libyans need to start demanding action from the government(s) on tackling these issues in order to provide Libyans with their basic necessities and to protect the country for an uncertain future.