Water shortages, food insecurity and a drop-off in tourism revenues await the Middle East and North Africa region should temperatures continue to rise over the next few decades, a new World Bank report released yesterday during COP18 states.
The thrust of “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided” is that no country is immune to the consequences of climate change, and thus every nation has a reason to work toward lowering emissions and promoting green growth.
That especially includes Arab countries, which have already seen climate disasters affect some 50 million people over the past three decades, to the tune of about $12 billion, the report states.
In the near future, a warmer world will mean less rainfall, more heat waves and rising sea levels for the MENA region, adds the report, which was conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics and commissioned by the World Bank.
For example, a global temperature increase of 4C could cause countries in the MENA region, the US and the sub-tropical Mediterranean to jump by more than 6C in the summer months.
“Climate change is a reality for people in Arab countries,” 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.
According to the report, among the proposed solutions to keep warming below 2 degrees are:
Putting the more than $1 trillion of fossil fuel and other harmful subsidies to better use; introducing natural capital accounting into national accounts; expanding both public and private expenditures on green infrastructure able to withstand extreme weather and urban public transport systems designed to minimize carbon emission and maximize access to jobs and services; supporting carbon pricing and international and national emissions trading schemes; and increasing energy efficiency – especially in buildings – and the share of renewable power produced.
For its part, Qatar has announced plans to partner with PIK to form a climate change research institute here by 2014, with the goal of tackling the challenges posed by a warmer world.
Here’s the report:
Credit: Photo by Lubaib Gazar