Will Climate Change make the Mideast Uninhabitable & trigger mass exodus?

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute and their scientific partners have found that even with just a 3.6 degree average rise in global temperatures, parts of the Middle East could become too hot to live in.

Warming won’t be even around the world. Some places will warm more and faster than others. The Middle East is such a place. Summer temperatures are expected to increase twice as fast as the world average.

The even worse news is that despite the Paris COP21 agreement, the world is very very unlikely to limit warming to 3.6 degrees F. (2 degrees C.).

Even under the wildly optimistic 2 degrees C. scenario, by 2050 or so, temperatures in large swaths of the region would never drop lower than 86 degrees F. at night, and would reach 114 F. during the day. By 2100 that midday temperature could rise to 122 degrees F.

(In Upper Egypt and in places along the littoral of the Gulf, it reaches 122 F. already sometimes in the dead of summer; the researchers are saying it will become common, and over a large area).

Heat waves will be 10 times more common than to day in this region by 2100, and unusual, debilitating heat will be experienced 200 days of the year.

It isn’t just the heat. Warming could create new dustbowls in the Middle East, making raising enough food impossible (a lot of the area’s food is already imported).

Already in the spring the strong desert wind or khamseen inundates cities like Cairo in a fog of yellow dust. I remember having to put my electronics in plastic bags during khamseen and tying them up, because otherwise the dust would penetrate everywhere and use them. You’d never want to see more khamseen days a year.

If it is too hot to live, and too hot and dry to farm, a lot of people in the region (which now has 500 million inhabitants) will just have to leave. Some fear a massive exodus of Middle East climate refugees.

The Max Planck Institute study just looked at temperature. But other climate change effects will also create millions of refugees. For instance, the Egyptian Nile Delta is a vast oasis to the east of the Sahara region, which irrigated farming makes a breadbasket for the whole Middle East. The Nile Delta, as with most river deltas, is lowlying land and is sinking anyway. If the seas also rise by several feet by the end of this century, then a lot of the Delta will be swallowed up by the Mediterranean. A majority of Egyptians live in the Delta– Upper Egypt is relatively sparsely populated.

The people of the Middle East are unusually dependent on producing and selling fossil fuels for their livelihood. But if they want to stay in their own homes, they have to keep it in the ground; and so does everyone else.

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Related video:

Climate change: Middle East and North Africa will soon become uninhabitable – TomoNews

9 Responses

  1. Well professor, if the West keeps fermenting unrest and causing wars in the middle East, the population will have long immigrated into Europe before climate change kicks in. Today over here in England we have an election for the mayor of London and a Muslim candidate looks set to win. The great exodus from the middle East has already begun and huge numbers of these people are here now in Britain. The EU is swamped with immigrants from the middle East and they keep on coming. America and Britain can together take the blame for much of the unrest in these Countries. However, whilst we in England are taking tens of thousands of immigrants via the European community, America takes only a tiny fraction of the refugees. I don’t blame you for that, yet Obama has the cheek to tell the British voter to stay in the EU, have open borders etc.

    • @john wilson,

      America has taken in at least 11 million economic refugees from mainly Mexico and Central America after that. Granted, those economic refugees were created by the DC FedRegime’s servants of the International Free Trade Conspiracy to begin with . . . . passing their NAFTA and such things.

      Still . . . . America took them in.

  2. The Gulf princes determine how much oil gets pumped.
    And they have their luxury refuges set up all over the world, so no skin off their nose if the Mideast turns into a furnace.

  3. Mr Wilson’s somewhat one sided comment above calls for some push back. According to a report from the Refugee Council in June last year:

    Globally about 1.8 million individual asylum claims were pending determination at the end of 2014, according to UNHCR. Across the EU there has been a gradual rise in the number of asylum applications since 2007, with 2010 being an exception to the trend. Total new applications, including dependants, to the EU28 countries have risen from 153,385 in 2008 to 562,265 in 2014. Some Western European countries, such as France and Germany, have seen a steady increase in asylum applications over the
    period. In Germany, for example, numbers have risen from 21,365 in 2007 to 173,070 in 2014. In the UK the number of asylum applications has remained relatively stable since 2005, compared with the very large changes in some countries, ranging from a low of 17,916 in 2010 to a high of 25,932 in 2008. In 2014 there were 24,914 applications in the UK (all of these UK figures exclude dependants).

    It might be added that in the last quarter of 2015, 61% of asylum applications in Britain were refused.

    It is true that the likely next mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is Muslim; however, he is British born and bred- a south Londoner. There are many Muslims in British public life, not least the Conservative Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javed, who apparently contrives to combine being Muslim with an admiration of Ayn Rand.

    I shall not speculate on what underlies Mr Wilson’d Trump like intervention, but people who are unfamiliar with Britain should be aware that the number of immigrants currently entering the country as a consequence of the tragedies in western Asia is in fact trivially low, and that the presence of Muslims in senior positions of authority in this country is simply proportionate to the population as a whole.

  4. Thanks for this observation, Professor.
    I have been saying this since last summer when Bandar Mahshahr, Iran had an incredible heat index of 163 degrees on July 31. Heat indexes in the 150 degree range were spread throughout the general region in late July, 2015; Baghdad hit 124 degree F and the govt. declared a 4-day holiday because no one can operate at that temperate. (I keep up with weatherunderground.com because I like weather, and this era of climate change has serious possible political repercussions.)

    The second part I relate to people is that KSA would have known about this since the ’70s when the oil companies have been documented to know that growing petroleum usage with have increasing effects on the atmosphere and climate and the certain dangers that can engender.

    So, the question I pose is this: Did KSA formulate a long-term strategy to abandon the Saudia Arabian peninsula and move to a more moderate place in their anticipated future? Was this for everyone or just the royal family?

    The implicit problems you related in your post would cost vast sums to maintain a sense of normalcy, and eventually it would seem political instability would be the order of the day. Is what we’re seeing there now a prelude?

    It would be ironic – and genuinely biblical – if all the fighting and dying led directly to a time when the whole place just naturally became uninhabitable for most anyone, like the Nefu, a slow but determined holocaust of drought and searing heat that would have happened anyway as long as the world stayed on its petroleum-inspired course. The trillions of dollars and the millions of lives were just evidence of the stress and, for the greater part, essentially wasted.

  5. I was in Andalusia in 2008 even there the locals were really uncomfortable, for a northern European me it was unbearable! So if that’s what southern Europe is like the middle east will definitely become uninhabitable and soon !!!!

  6. The point all previous comments have missed is that the last World War was triggered by Oil but the next major conflict will be triggered by Water.

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