Qatar takes the cake when it comes to determining who tops the list for hottest country in the world. In summer, temperatures peak a blistering 115°F (46°C) in this tiny west Asian nation which is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Searing temperatures have prompted the decision to delay the World Cup by five months. It has now scheduled for November, during Qatar’s winter.
To ensure the nation is well-prepared for the momentous event authorities are now turning to outdoor air conditioning systems.
The outdoor air conditioners will be installed in football stadiums, as well as on the streets and outdoor markets.
Qatar has installed giant coolers along pavements and in outdoor shopping areas so that soccer fans don’t wilt or die while shuttling between metros, stadiums, and hotels.
For additional measures, the Public Works Authority has painted the Abdullah Bin Jassin Street near one of Doha’s biggest souq markets the color blue in order to significantly lower the temperature of the asphalt by around 15 to 20 degrees Celsius.
The blue roads helps to lower temperature because dark-colored roads absorb the heat from the sun more than lighter ones, which reflect it. This 18-month-long experiment is on a 650-foot (250 meter) stretch of road and uses a 0.003 ins (1mm) thick blue coating with a special heat-reflecting pigment. The road also contains hollow ceramic microspheres which are designed to reflect infrared radiation.
The outdoor air conditioners may cool off Qatar’s stadiums and metros, but there’s an environmental setback in the making. The nation would need tons of fossil fuel to generate electricity to run giants cooling devices.
Qatar can afford to shell out millions for outdoor air conditioning because it has a $320 billion sovereign wealth fund. The resource-rich nation’s wealth comes from oil and natural gas reserves and its notable investments in Volkswagen, Heathrow Airport, and the Empire State Building.
Signatories to the Paris Agreement agreed to: “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” The fossil fuel-rich nation of Qatar has already exceeded this threshold. It is now one of the fastest-warming areas of the world, outside of the Arctic.
But, as far as solutions go, this may prove to an expensive one.