Climate Change Becoming Acute for Arab Nations

The World Bank's new Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries report says extreme weather events are the "new norm" for the region.

A new World Bank report says five Arab countries set new national temperature highs in 2010, and extreme weather events are the "new norm" for the region. The report, "Adaptation to a Changing Climate in the Arab Countries," says the consequences of global climate change are especially acute in the Arab world. While the region has been adapting to changes in rainfall and temperature for thousands of years, the speed of today's changes has, in many cases, outstripped traditional coping mechanisms.

"Climate change is a reality for people in Arab countries," said Inger Andersen, World Bank vice president for the Middle East and North Africa region. "It affects everyone, especially the poor, who are least able to adapt. And as the climate becomes ever more extreme, so will its impacts on people's livelihoods and well-being. The time to take action at both the national and regional level in order to increase climate resilience is now."

The report is available at

Last month, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim released a report warning that the world is on a path to heat up by 4 degrees Celcius by the end of this century if the global community fails to act on climate change. The "Turn Down the Heat" report said this temperature change will cause extreme heat waves, declining global food stocks, and a sea-level rise affecting hundreds of millions of people.

"A 4 degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided. We need to hold warming below 2 degrees," he said. "Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today."

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