This summer is undoubtedly one of the stickiest, most humid seasons, and it hasn't been void of heatwaves. Last month, several Gulf countries suffered from a massive heatwave - as temperatures reached beyond 50°C in some areas. Turns out, average temperatures in Bahrain hit their highest record since 1902 this June.

The average temperature recorded in the Gulf nation that month was 36.3°C ⁠— a four-degree increase in comparison to June of last year. However, there were days where the recorded temperature exceeded the average by far. More than 20 days documented maximum temperatures of 40.9°C; the hottest day hit 45.3°C.

Source: Wikimedia

The scorching heat has affected many countries in the region this summer. In June, the heat resulted in the tragic death of a Kuwait-based Egyptian expat. The man, who worked as a painter, collapsed while working on a building's exterior. 

The heat has also affected working hours and productivity in many countries in the Arab world. In a report released earlier this month, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) predicted that 80 million jobs will be lost by 2030 due to the rising heat stress. In Bahrain, for example, 1.9 percent of working hours were lost in 1995 due to the heat. That percentage is projected to reach 4.1 percent by 2030, as pointed out in the report.

The heat drastically affects the construction sector - which is mostly comprised of migrant workers - in Arab countries. According to ILO, migrant workers make up around 50 percent of the population in Bahrain and Oman, most of whom work in the construction sector. Due to rising heat, all GCC countries have adopted a midday work ban prohibiting any outdoor work during certain times of the day. However, temperatures are still considered extremely high outside of the banned hours.

Both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are expected to lose more than 2 percent of their GDP by 2030 as a result of heat stress, according to ILO's projections. 

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, and Libya were named the "most toxic nations on Earth" in a 2017 report by The Eco Experts, a renewable energy firm.

So, what are Arab countries doing about worsening climate change? A report detailing different countries' role in the battle against climate change was released earlier this year.

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2019 gave a breakdown of 60 different countries' efforts in the fight against climate change over the course of 2018. In it, Morocco was named the fourth-best country, while Saudi Arabia was named the worst.

Morocco has become a leader in pursuing sustainable energy solutions, with plans to care for 42 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 52 percent by 2030. It also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent within 15 years. One of its most ambitious renewable energy projects is the Noor solar power plant in Ouarzazate. With hundreds of curved mirrors covering some 1,400,000 square meters of desert – an area the size of 200 football fields – the first phase of the project has already surpassed expectations.

Other Arab countries should definitely follow suit before the region becomes uninhabitable by the end of the century as indicated in a 2016 report. 

"MENA is a climate change hotspot that could turn into a scorching area in summer," the researchers wrote in the study published in the scientific journal Climatic Change.