Addressing Climate crisis
in the middle east
Worldwide there is a growing understanding that we have entered a climate crisis. In the Middle East, the impact of climate change is predicted to be particularly extreme. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified the Eastern Mediterranean as a climate hotspot. While the rest of the world is seeking to avoid a 1.5-degrees centigrade increase in temperature, the Middle East has already witnessed a 1.5-degrees increase and is forecast to see an additional 4 to 7 degrees increase, longer summer months, and rainfall forecast to drop by up to 40%, which will have catastrophic consequences for a region that is already the most water scarce in the world.
The climate crisis is often described as a threat multiplier that can threaten stability and national security interests. However, as exemplified by the EcoPeace-led Israel/Jordan water-energy agreement, brokered in November 2021, climate change can equally be seen as a multiplier of opportunities. With extreme climate events, such as floods and droughts, becoming more prevalent and severe with each passing year, climate change is recognized by all sides as an urgent existential threat to water and national security interests and this can bring adversaries to cooperate and reconsider existing policies in order to increase adaptive capacities.
Building on decades of research and direct engagement with policymakers on both sides, EcoPeace is proposing a Green Blue Deal for the Middle East as a policy framework for Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian decision makers, supported by international stakeholders, to meet the challenges posed by climate change. In doing so, EcoPeace gives emphasis to the particular importance of water and water scarcity issues in addressing the climate crisis, while simultaneously addressing conflict drivers, advancing a two-state solution, and promoting trust and cooperation in a conflict-mired region.