04/04/2022, 12.38
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IMF warns climate change 'serious threat' to Middle East

A report presented in Dubai reveals that over 30 years  temperatures have risen by 1.5 degrees, double the global average. Disasters every year displace an average of seven million people , kill at least 2,600 dead and damages for almost two billion euros. Impacts of up to 2% on GDP. 

Dubai (AsiaNews) - Temperatures in the Middle East and Central Asia have risen by 1.5 degrees since 1990, twice the global average of 0.7 degrees. This is what emerges from a study published in recent days by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which confirms the climate alarm and the heavy repercussions in terms of food supplies - if added to the war in Ukraine - and water resources.

The region, experts warn, is "at the forefront" of the environmental crisis, with heavy repercussions on food supplies and public health, combined with growing risks of poverty and conflict. 

On average every year this century, climate disasters in the Middle East and Central Asia have displaced seven million people, claimed at least 2,600 lives and resulted in nearly two billion euros in physical damage to structures. 

"Over the past two decades, the frequency and severity of climate-related disasters here have been rising faster than anywhere in the world," said IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, launching the report at the World Government Summit in Dubai." "The list of disasters is quickly getting longer. And the economic and financial implications of these climate impacts are a major threat to growth and prosperity in the region," she added. 

"Climate adaptation is an urgent priority for the region," it said, calling for policies to reflect climate priorities, and spending on social protection and infrastructure such as water systems.

From an economic perspective, the IMF director explains that extreme weather events generally reduce annual economic growth by 1 to 2 percentage points per capita. Therefore, all nations involved must adapt their economies to climate challenges, even in the face of steadily rising coal prices. We also need more investment in green policies and maximum commitment to ensure a fair and sustainable transition between and within countries.

Among the virtuous examples is that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the main oil producers, which has committed to invest about 145 billion euros in renewable energy to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050. And Egypt, which is investing in modern irrigation techniques, education and health care.

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