Why Gen-Z Is Advocating For Climate Restoration

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Thu 20 Jun 2024, 10:07 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Jun 2024, 10:08 PM

Last week, we explored Gen-Z's views on climate change, from how efforts at mitigation have failed to how we believe the issue should be tackled. The meat of this matter is a two-sided conflict - mitigation, adaptation, and the solution Gen-Z and science prefer: climate restoration.


Mitigation is the simplest response to climate change, ending or slowing it“by preventing or reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere,” according to the European Environment Agency (EEA). However, decades of moving the goalposts from how many degrees of warming the earth can withstand to countries that have the ability to do so refusing to get off fossil fuels, has left mitigation in an awkward position.

Still the most popular option, climate change has progressed to a point where mitigation is not enough. How this relates to Gen-Z is that most of us were not born when climate change was discovered. Now we are supposed to join in by begging the world's biggest polluters to stop? Especially when they have spent most of the past 50 years ignoring this plea?

Mitigation is the bare minimum at this point, but most science and activism has moved on to adaptation or restoration.


Most say even adaptation is an extreme response to climate change. The EEA states adaptation is“taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage [person-caused climate change] can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise.” Sea walls to protect from rising sea levels, large scale infrastructure projects that keep people off polluters, and financial rebuilding packages like the Green New Deal in the US are all examples of adaptation.

Many have used adaptation to find the positive in climate change. From land previously frozen ready for crops and settlement in countries like Canada and Russia, to rising opportunities for green investment in solar and wind energy. As of the end of 2023, the International Energy Agency estimates there is $1.7 trillion invested in clean energy, compared to the $1.1 trillion invested in fossil fuels despite the higher profitability of oil and gas.

For Gen-Z, adaptation is the normal we should aim for, every building sustainable, every product we buy or office we work in prepared to face the quickly changing climate. The UAE is already at this stage, building sea walls at La Mer in Jumeirah and Saadiyat Island and Al Aliah in Abu Dhabi, both to protect the Palm Islands and encourage intertidal marine life and biodiversity.


Once a dream, climate restoration is the goal of reducing carbon dioxide levels below 300 parts per million, what humans have survived for most of our existence. Through wetland restoration, carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), and ending deforestation, the hope is that we can turn back the clock long enough for restoration efforts to actually restore, and not hold off the seeming inevitable.

The UAE government has built one CCUS facility in Fujairah, helmed by ADNOC with the goal of delivering ADNOC's net zero targets by 2045, set to suck 1.5 million tonnes of carbon out of the air every year (2.3 million parts per million) and further backed by $15 billion decarbonisation investment.

While these projects assuage some of Gen-Z's fears, there is widespread belief that climate restoration is coming too late. Now, it is only a question of if we can continue investing, so Gen-Z isn't just left with the clean up after the next climate disaster.



  • 'When women lead in climate talks, they take whole communities along': How UAE women are leading the path to Net Zero
  • Climate crisis and Gen-Z: Why we desire more action


Khaleej Times

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