Many MENA coastal cities could be flooded if sea levels rise

Qatar-based Al-Attiyah Foundation’s recent Sustainability Digest sends out a bleak warning on climate change in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region saying many coastal cities in the region could be flooded if sea levels rise.

While the climate change risks in the region are mostly related to the increase in temperatures and paucity of water, there also lesser known issues such as the rising levels of seas. “This is a risk to the population and national security challenge for Qatar, since 96% of the population is living on coastal areas – with most in the capital city of Doha. Many coastal cities in the region would also be flooded if sea levels rise,” the report observed.

In a recent report, the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that the climate has been constantly changing with both the atmosphere and oceans becoming a lot warmer than they were. Snow and ice levels have reduced and sea level has risen, it added.

According to another report, global temperatures are set to increase 3 to 3.5 degree Celsius by the end of this century, likely causing a two-metre sea level rise by the end of this century and many more during the next.

Many MENA coastal cities could be flooded if sea levels rise

At the global scale, warmer waters have already led to devastating consequences for marine life. In the already warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, which constitute the habitat and traditional source of seafood for the Arab world’s coastal cities and villages, bleaching corals are plainly evident in many areas. The overall marine fish stock has been declining almost everywhere in the Gulf, the report added.

Emphasising on the need to acknowledge, mitigate, and adapt accordingly, the report observed that many oil-exporting countries are already mulling climate change strategies. Many other counties across the world, including Kenya, India, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Bangladesh, and European Economic Area (EEA) countries, have taken cognisance of the Environmental concerns.

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Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum (WEP) Global Risks Report 2019 reiterated on the fact that environment-related risks account for three of the top five global risks by likelihood, and four of the top five risks by economic impact, namely, failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; water crises and natural disasters. The report concluded that of all the risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly not doing enough.


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