Climate Change Could Force Millions to Flee Middle East

his map of the Earth shows surface temperature trends between 1950 and 2014.
his map of the Earth shows surface temperature trends between 1950 and 2014.

Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia have found that limiting global warming to just 2 degrees Celsius will not be sufficient to prevent uninhabitable conditions from developing in the Middle East and North Africa.

The 2-degree limit is the compromise target temperature that was reached at the recent United Nations summit on global warming held in Paris in December 2015.

Holding the warming trend of the earth down to 2-degrees Celsius will not prevent temperatures in the MENA region from climbing so high that the 500 million people in the region will be forced to leave to cooler climates.

Presently temperatures in the region are already quite hot in the summer, where global warming is already evident. Since 1970 the number of extremely hot days has doubled, say the researchers. The area, say the researchers, is more sensitive to global warming, increasing more than two times faster than the average global warming.

Hot days south of the Mediterranean are expected to reach about 46 degrees by the middle of the 21st century, and will occur five times more often than was the case when the millennium turned. Combined with air pollution and windblown desert dust, the conditions could become intolerable, forcing many people to leave.

n future, the climate in large parts of the Middle East and North Africa could change in such a manner that the very existence of its inhabitants is in jeopardy,” said Jos Lelieveld from Max Planck Institute.