(Rapidly depleting water resources has forced residents of Sana’a to buy water from private sources. Water levels are dropping by 6 metres a year in the Yemeni capital. © David Swanson/IRIN)
If you think things seem pretty dicey in the Middle East right now with Israel and Hamas fighting, according to IRIN, expect tensions to become a whole lot worse, once global warming comes into play. Rising sea levels, they say, will have severe environmental, economic and political implications for the already water-stressed Middle East.
The report they site is called “Climate Change: A New Threat to Middle East Security,” written by Friends of the Earth Middle East (FOEME), who we’ve blogged about extensively.
The report produced by FOEME details that climate change is something of a “threat multiplier,” meaning that the forecasted changing weather patterns brought on by global warming, will exacerbate water scarcity and tensions over water between nations. In particular between those in Jordan, Gaza and Egypt.
“Poor and vulnerable populations, which exist in significant numbers throughout the region, will likely face the greatest risk”, says the study.
A half metre rise in sea levels could displace 2 to 4 million Egyptians by 2050, it says.
According to IRIN: Rising sea levels would also contaminate the drinking water of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza due to sea water intrusion contaminating their only water source, the coastal aquifer, the FOEME report says.
To counter the pressures, the director of FOEME’s Amman office, Munqeth Mehyar, has asked Jordan’s government “to assist rural communities in Jordan that are currently dependent on agriculture to diversify their income sources to rural tourism and small cottage industries.”
Positive environmentalists see the dreary future could lead to cross-border cooperation.
“Being left unprepared will affect not only economic, physical, and environmental security, but national, regional, and global security, if actions are not taken now to mitigate, and adapt to the projected impacts of climate change,” Palestinian Director of FOEME Nader Khatib concluded.
The annual UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, which started on 3 December with the participation of over 180 nations, ended on 14 December.
::IRIN (Hat tip: MIDEASTENVIRONET)
Read up more about conflict and the Middle East’s delicate balancing act with water resources:
FoEME to Hold Conference on Shared Mountain Aquifer
Jordan River Peace Park Coming Soon?
Lifesource is Looking For Water and Justice in Israel and Palestine