World Bank: Arab World hit hard by climate change

December 5, 2012 by Michael Casey
This Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 photo, shows the general view of a gas station in Doha, Qatar. The host of the current U.N. climate talks, Qatar, is among dozens of nations that keep gas prices low through subsidies that exceeded $500 billion globally last year. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

(AP)—The Middle East and North Africa will be especially hard hit by climate change in the coming decades, the World Bank said in a report Wednesday, saying the region will see less rainfall, more recording-breaking temperatures and rising sea levels.

Should temperatures rise as expected, the hotter conditions are likely to hit the region's $50 billion (€38.2 billion) and further worsen its since many countries in the region—especially Gulf states—depend heavily on imports to feed their populations. will also increase while yields will decrease and household incomes will fall, the report said.

The report was presented at the United Nations in Doha, Qatar, where nearly 200 delegates for the first time are in the Middle East to discuss cutting emissions in an attempt to ensure that don't rise more than 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) over what they were in preindustrial times.

Temperatures have already risen about 0.8 degrees C (1.4 degrees F), according to the latest report by the IPCC.

"Climate change is a reality for people in ," Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa region, said in a statement.

"It affects everyone—especially the poor who are least able to adapt—and as the climate becomes ever more extreme, so will its impacts on people's livelihoods and wellbeing. The time to take actions at both the national and regional level in order to increase climate resilience is now," Andersen said.

In this Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 photo, a man, unseen, fills his car with gasoline at a gas station in Doha, Qatar. The host of the current U.N. climate talks, Qatar, is among dozens of nations that keep gas prices low through subsidies that exceeded $500 billion globally last year. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

Among the most critical problems in the Middle East and North Africa will be worsening , the World Bank said. The region already has the lowest amount of freshwater in the world. With climate change, in the region are expected to turn more extreme, is expected to decline 10 percent by 2050 while demand for water is expected to increase 60 percent by 2045.

The World Bank said the region—already suffering from searing summertime temperatures that can reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit)—needs to start preparing for an even warmer world.

The report urged countries to ensure their national policies were "climate resilient," starting with "collecting climate data to strengthening basic services." It also called for improved access to services such as education, health and sanitation, along with strengthening of social safety nets to compensate for sudden loss of livelihood and training schemes to "give citizens the skills and resources to navigate climate challenges."

Countries need to improve their infrastructure with an eye on climate change, including improved drainage systems to address worsening floods and measures such as sea walls to address .

"Reducing vulnerability to climate change will require concerted action on multiple levels," said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. "Political leadership now will be critical in establishing climate change as a national and regional priority."

The report concluded that is already happening in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Over the past 30 years, climate disasters have affected 50 million people in the Arab world, costing about $12 billion (€ 9.2 billion) directly.

The report cited the 2006 flooding of the Nile River Basin, which caused 600 deaths, as well as the record five-year drought in the Jordan River Basin that ended in 2008. Of the 19 record temperatures in 2010, almost a quarter were from the Arab world, including Kuwait where temperatures reached 52.6 C (126.7 F) in 2010 and 53.5 C (128.3 F) in 2011.

In 2010, the Arabian Sea experienced its second-strongest cyclone on record, with winds as strong as 230 kilometers per hour (145 miles per hour) that killed 44 people and caused $700 million (€534.6 million) in damages in Oman.

Explore further: Climate change may increase Europe's north-south divide


Related Stories

2001-2010 warmest decade on record: WMO

March 23, 2012

Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the UN weather agency said Friday, releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record.

Climate change to bring more floods: World Bank

November 10, 2011

Climate change will bring more floods and extreme weather to Southeast Asia, a World Bank official said Thursday on a visit to the region, where hundreds have died in severe inundation.

World Bank fears devastating 4.0 degree warming

November 19, 2012

The World Bank warned that global temperatures could rise by four degrees this century without immediate action, with potentially devastating consequences for coastal cities and the poor.

Climate: which nations, cities most at risk?

October 26, 2011

A third of humanity, mostly in Africa and South Asia, face the biggest risks from climate change but rich nations in northern Europe will be least exposed, according to a report released Wednesday.

Climate change to cost LatAm $100 bn by 2050: study

June 6, 2012

Global warming could exact a devastating toll on the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, with costs possibly exceeding $100 billion by 2050, the Inter-American Development Bank warned Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

November 17, 2017

Nature whispers its stories in a faint molecular language, and Rice University scientist Laurence Yeung and colleagues can finally tell one of those stories this week, thanks to a one-of-a-kind instrument that allowed them ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.5 / 5 (12) Dec 05, 2012
Yes of course. As coincidental as it seems, the world just happens to be sitting at it's optimal temperature for support of human life. Any deviation from this optimal temperature and the world as we know it will come crashing to an end. Proof? Why else would the vast majority of the world's scientific elite be so alarmed about climate change? Since it is true that the climate naturally fluctuates, this can only mean that the end of the world is inevitable anyway. There's nothing you can do about it so you might as well enjoy your last days. Take a vacation. Buy something nice. Just forget the whole thing.
not rated yet Dec 05, 2012
The oil rich nations of the Middle East will be even more dependent on the more northern nations for food, for sustenance. But of course, their leaders (owners) are already well aware of this. The leaders will eat well.....
3 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2012
The current biosphere has evolved to be optimal for the current climatic conditions.

Moving away from those conditions means moving away from the optimum.

"As coincidental as it seems, the world just happens to be sitting at it's optimal temperature for support of human life." - MountainTard

It is quite a simple concept. Why do you fail to comprehend it?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.