Climate Change's Dire Consequences for the Middle East

Several experts from AUB and the World Bank sat down for a video-linked discussion at AUB’s New York City Office and on campus in Beirut, Lebanon, to consider the challenges posed by climate change and poor resource management to Middle Eastern societies. 

Dr. Nadim Farajalla, Director of the Climate Change and the Environment Program at AUB’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, began the discussion by describing rapid population growth and urbanization in the Arab world. He mentioned that agriculture accounts for 80 percent of water consumption in the MENA region. Desalination accounts for much of that figure. Still the region is a net food importer.  

Water scarcity, Farajalla says, is a central issue. Much of the region is overexploited in terms of water resources, and per capita energy use is higher than the world average. Farajalla notes that higher temperatures, longer lasting droughts, and increased prevalence of natural disasters are all predicted for the Arab world. Poorer countries in the region, like Yemen and Syria, are less able to adapt their infrastructure to make it more climate resilient. 

Read a full summary of the discussion here.

Video of the Full Discussion