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  • Urgent Action Needed on Climate Change in Arab World

    Date : December 06, 2012

    New report charts current and future damage from the region’s rapidly changing climate and calls for strong leadership in preparing countries and communities to face the threat    

    WASHINGTON, December 5, 2012 – The impact of climate change will be especially acute in the  Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to a new World Bank Group report, and immediate action will be needed to avoid the projected consequences of worsening water shortages and rising food insecurity. Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries provides a comprehensive assessment of the threat to the region posed by increasingly severe weather, and offers a set of policy options for the urgent task of managing current effects and building resilience against those yet to come.

    “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 Arab world has been adapting to climate change for centuries. There is a long history and tradition of coping with the associated challenges, such as changes in temperature and rainfall. New climate change risks are emerging at a much faster rate, including the prospect of a world that is four degrees hotter, and resilience built up over years is being severely tested.

    These risks have been identified and assessed in the new climate report which was prepared in partnership with the League of Arab States, involving specialists, researchers, policymakers and civil society organizations from across the region. The report reinforces the warning that decades of poverty reduction efforts could be reversed as contained in the recent World Bank publication, Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4° C Warmer World Must be Avoided.

    Over the past 30 years, climate disasters have affected 50 million people in the Arab world, costing about $12 billion directly and many multiples of that indirectly. Recent trends suggest that dry regions are becoming drier and flash floods have become more frequent. The 2006 flooding of the Nile River Basin led to 600 deaths, with a further 118,000 people affected, while in 2008 a record five-year drought finally ended in the Jordan River Basin.

    Globally 2010 was the warmest year since records began in the 1800s, and of the 19 countries that set new record temperatures, five were in MENA. Regional temperatures are projected to reach new record highs, coupled with less rainfall which, in a region with the world’s lowest endowment of freshwater, could make this precious natural resource even scarcer.

    A harsher climate threatens livelihoods throughout the region. Extreme weather could affect both the annual US$50 billion tourism industry and agriculture, already under severe climate stress. The combination of higher temperatures, lower rainfall and increased frequency of drought could cause more crop failures and lower yields putting MENA’s rural population, nearly half the region’s total, under growing stress. Migration to already overcrowded cities and vulnerable costal zones would accelerate. Yet a further consequence of climate change could be the upending of traditional social roles, as it is usually the men who migrate for low-wage, low-skill jobs, and the women who remain behind with all the farming and community responsibilities.

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

    The report stresses that adaptation should be integrated into all national policies and actions to ensure they are climate resilient. This spans efforts from collecting climate data to strengthening basic services. Accurate weather information is critical for preparing for extreme events. Improved access to services such as education, health and sanitation, along with effective social safety nets to compensate for sudden loss of livelihood, will give citizens the skills and resources to navigate climate challenges. 

    The World Bank Group is currently engaged across the region in supporting countries and communities in coping with the effects of a changing climate. A project in Morocco is financing the integration of adaptation measures into the national agriculture strategy, while in Yemen more effective land management is being promoted, along with research into drought resistant crops. Moreover, sustainable development, increasing social and economic inclusion and improving governance – the essential ingredients for building and maintaining resilience – are overarching goals of all Bank activities throughout the region.

    In Washington: Lara Saade, (202) 473-9887,
    In Doha: Ashraf Al-Saeed, +974 7790 5578,

    For more information, please visit:

  • Doha Conference Must Send ‘Clear Message’ on 2015 Climate Deal, Secretary-General Says

    Date : December 05, 2012

    Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Chief Executives Board meeting on “The UN system Delivering as One on Climate Change:  Sustainable Solutions for Climate Action”, in Doha, today, 4 December:  full text.

  • World is able but not willing to cut greenhouse gas emissions, says UN body

    Date : November 28, 2012

    By Sue Blaine, BD Live

    The world already had the know-how to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, linked to the overall rise in global temperatures, but did not have the political will, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) said at the UN climate change talks in Doha on Wednesday morning.


  • Global sea levels on a rise, says NASA

    Date : November 21, 2012

    GeoSpatial World

    US: A new study by NASA has revealed that global sea level, which dipped sharply in 2010-11 due to a strong La Nina event, has recovered and resumed its long-term upward climb.


  • Jordan to use satellite data to monitor climate change

    Date : November 20, 2012

    GeoSpatial World

    Jordan: The Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation is slated to begin using remote sensing and satellite images to monitor the impact of climate change and drought on the country's green cover and water resources, the Jordan Times reported.


  • 68% Of US Voters See Global Warming As 'Serious Problem'

    Date : November 14, 2012

    By Stephen Lacey

    Polls have consistently shown that Americans’ understanding of global warming grows with an increase in extreme weather events. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, that number continues to grow.


  • Nations meet prior to climate change talks in Doha

    Date : October 24, 2012

    By LAN LAN (

    The Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) on climate change, a new group of developing countries, have been coordinating their positions on climate change negotiations ahead of the upcoming climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has said.


  • Will climate change lead to more droughts?

    Date : October 18, 2012

    Grantham InstituteImperial College London and 

    Although climate change is expected to lead to slightly more rainfall at the global level, the timing and distribution of that rain is likely to change, increasing the chance of drought in some regions. The details are very difficult to predict, however. This is partly because regional climate impacts are strongly dependent on large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns like the jet stream, which are hard to model in climate simulations. There is some indication from climate modelling that the Mediterranean, Central America and Western Australia regions may experience reduced precipitation, but there is still considerable uncertainty as climate models do not all agree, because local features such as mountains and rainforests can be important, and because of the large range of natural variability.

    Full story.

  • Global warming could make washout UK summers the norm, study warns

    Date : October 10, 2012

    The Guardian

    Scientists have established a clear link between shrinking Arctic ice and extreme weather in lower latitudes.

    Full article.

  • Measuring Glacier Change in the Himalayas

    Date : October 01, 2012

    UNEP - Sept. 2012

    A serious lack of reliable and consistent data severely hampers scientific knowledge about the state of Himalayan glaciers. As a result, the contribution of glacial melt to the Himalayan river basins remains uncertain. This is of grave importance because declining water availability could threaten the food security of more than 70 million people. There is thus an urgent need to improve cross-boundary scientific collaboration and monitoring of glaciers to bridge the knowledge gap and allow policy options to be based on appropriate scientific evidence.

    Full article.