The warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level. The Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by 0.76° C since 1850. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very likely to have been caused by human activities. In addition, changes in climate are increasingly coming to be linked with disasters and environmental trends that impact human societies.
In light of recent scientific findings that show that climate change is happening faster and more drastically than previously envisaged, it is urged that all possible mitigation efforts, including primarily preventing the emission of greenhouse gasses worldwide be immediately executed, and that societal adaptation measures be urgently developed and adopted.
With the Middle East being the world’s most water-stressed region, climate change, which is projected to cause sea level rise, more extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, and less precipitation, will contribute to even greater water stress in the region.
Governments, policy makers and the general public, through the media, must realize that the climate crisis is therefore a new and real threat to the Middle East with severe environmental, economic, political and security implications.
EcoPeace researched the projections that are being made for climate change in a selection of Middle Eastern countries and territory; Egypt, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Jordan, along with adjacent river basin countries. The study focused on the anticipated impact this will have on human societies and economies, and the ramifications that this is likely to have on human security and political stability within this already volatile region.
It was found that a decrease in rainfall coupled with an increase in extreme climatic events due to climate change is likely to significantly decrease water availability in the region, with negative effects on food production and economies. This is likely to increase tensions between countries that share common water resources, and also potentially lead to civil crises and migration that may threaten political stability within countries. In addition sea level rises are likely to have a drastic effect on Egypt’s Nile Delta region, leading to the inundation of large residential and agricultural lands; refugees, economic losses and food scarcity.
Documents for further reading on climate change / global warming in the Middle East Region:
Water in the Middle East
Global Warming’s Impacts on Israel
Global Warming’s Impacts on Israel (Hebrew)
Climate Change – A Real Threat to Middle East Security
Executive Magazine, Lebanon: Arab States Ignore Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report on Asia
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 4th Assessment Report on Africa
Israeli Policy Paper for Dealing with Climate Change