The consequences of climate change throughout the Gulf region have become a much more serious problem in recent years. Today, some areas are facing severe droughts, while others are facing unprecedented floods. Overall, the region’s climate has changed dramatically over the past five decades, and it is projected that some Gulf states will experience a temperature increase of 2.6°C (4.7°F) and a nearly 35% decline in precipitation over the next thirty years.
The impacts of these changes are already being felt. Water scarcity has curtailed the agricultural and industrial sectors in Iran and Iraq and has increased the challenge of unemployment. Meanwhile, urban expansion in the GCC states places pressure on their limited water resources and infrastructure plans. The changes in climate have forced the region’s governments to expand their understanding of the detrimental, and sometimes deadly, effects of climate change. Ultimately, if the growing climate crisis is not adequately addressed, the drastic increase in temperature and decrease in water supply will render some areas inhabitable, reduce arable land, bring down economic productivity, and lead to a major spike in food insecurity, among other concerns. The socio-economic impact of such changes cannot be overstated.
What are the major climate change challenges in the Gulf, and to what extent has the environment already been impacted? If the current trajectory is maintained, what will the consequences be for the region in fifty years? How can the governments and business entities enact solutions to drastic climate consequences? What are the obstacles to cooperative environmental policy-making measures? What measures can the Gulf states take to diversify their economies and fight climate change, and what political and economic obstacles could hold them back?
Featured speakers: Dr. Amin Mohseni-Cheraghlou, Professor Cristina D’Alessandro, Dr. Nadim Farajalla, and Dr. Aisha Al-Sarihi.