Saturday, November 21, 2009

Middle East coastline faces devastation if climate warms by a single degree

Patrick Galey in the Daily Star (Lebanon): Lebanon may see parts of its coastline vanish if climate change continues unabated, according to a landmark report on the evolving environment of the Arab world. The Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries – a document assembled by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development – warns that an increase in global temperature of just a single degree “would directly impact 41,500 square-kilometers of the Arab coastal lands.”

Sea level rise is a big risk, according to the report, “since the bulk of the Arab region’s economic activity, agriculture and population centers are in the coastal zone.” Beirut, as one of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s coastal economic hubs, would suffer financially as infrastructure struggled to cope with rising tides and an increase of severe weather conditions, such as storms and flooding.

The report, unveiled in Beirut on Thursday, compiled data from scientific institutions across the world and concluded that a 1 meter rise in global sea levels would impact on 3.2 percent of the Arab population, compared to 1.3 percent worldwide.

Such extreme meteorological events would cost the MENA region additional losses of $12.7 billion, according to the report. It added that not enough was being done by regional governments to tackle the threats posed by sea level rise and pollution….

Sunset near Beirut, shot by Bertilvidet, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

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