We’ve written about the topics dealing with the effects of climate change in the Middle East before on Green Prophet, and will undoubtedly write about it again. The sad truth is that the Middle East and much of the Mediterranean region, is becoming more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Whether this involves severe water problems, often caused by government apathy; wheat and other grains dying from rising temperatures and less rainfall, or an increase in bed bug biting in the UAE. The Arab World is becoming more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Dry lake bed in southern Cyprus
The seriousness of climate change in the Arab World was pointed out recently in an article in the news site ArabBusiness.com, in which it was noted that powerful dust storms in Iraq, freak floods wreaking havoc in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and rising sea levels eroding Egypt’s coast are all sure signs that countries in the Middle East are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
This is certainly nothing new as the Middle East has never been an area that has received ample rainfall. With one of the fastest growing populations in the world, especially in countries like Egypt, people living in the Arab World by the year 2015 will have to survive on less than 500 cubic meters of water a year each, against a world average exceeding 6,000 cubic meters per head, according to Mohamed El-Ashry, former head of the Global Environment Facility.
Five hundred cubic meters of water per person per annum is barely enough to survive on, much less maintain a decent quality of life. Although desalination is now widely used in Saudi Arabia, and in the Gulf States, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, strict measures of water conservation and recycling, such as those now being considered in Abu Dhabi will now have to become the norm.
After all, if a small country like Israel, with a population of 7.5 million can reclaim 75% of its sewage waste water then why can’t Arab countries do the same? The ravages of climate change will not go away soon; and the sooner that Arab countries take more measures to conserve water, the better off they will be.
According to a UN Development Program (UNDP) research paper, as quoted in Arabianbusiness.com:
“For a region that is already vulnerable to many non-climate stresses, climate change and its potential physical and socio-economic impacts are likely to exacerbate this vulnerability, leading to large-scale instability.”
Hotter, drier weather already worsens water scarcity in the Middle East. And unless more effort is made by countries in this region, increased political instability and mass population migrations will soon become the norm in the Arab World.
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