As the number one global gas exporter, Qatar’s pact with the devil offers us all a window into the future. The tiny Middle Eastern nation of 300,000 locals is the world’s worst per capita emitter and in return has already warmed by 2 degrees C, double the global average. Qatar pokes out of Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf’s fast warming waters, hence the country’s reaping of what it sows. But, as Washington Post writer Steven Mufson puts it in his brilliant article, “Facing unbearable heat, Qatar has begun to air-condition the outdoors,” Qatar promised no emission cuts at Paris 2015 and believes “global warming poses an engineering problem, not an existential one.”
My only stay in Qatar has been a two-hour layover in the bizarre one-airline airport of Qatar Airways. Reading Mufson’s eye-opener, what struck me is that even if we all begin to cut air travel for carbon footprint purposes and thereby theoretically reduce airlines’ profit margins, Qatar Airways would be impervious. A vanity project, it can just keep reducing prices forever. Perhaps what is needed is a global boycott of Qatar Airways (and Emirates, Etihad, and Air Brunei).
Mufson chronicles the barely believable. Soccer stadiums, markets, outdoor cafes . . . all are being air-con’d at fantastic cost and the onset of an evil cycle: we emit most and now we’re hottest, so let’s emit more to cool down.
I recommend reading the entire fulsome article. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this extreme heat laboratory. You too might detect a hint, behind the article’s smooth words, that, analogous to Miami’s untenable battle to stem the rising water, Qatar could well be one of the first rich countries abandoned as uninhabitably hot.