• Jenny Kien

Global Warming and Environmental Issues in Israel and the Middle East

עודכן ב: 20 דצמ 2018

In December 2018 many areas in Israel received more than half their average annual rainfall in 2 days, even while the country and the whole region are suffering a heavy drought. Jordan, similarly in protracted drought, experienced heavy flooding. Is this strange weather connected to global warming? Yes, it is.

Global warming affects each region of the world differently depending on multiple geographical aspects, so the changes predicted for each region must be calculated separately. Israel with its unusual geographical form, a narrow coastal strip bounded by a range of hills, whose altitude reaches a height of 600m within a few kilometers, requires special calculations.

Calculations based on the latest satellite data show that Israel can expect a new distribution of rain in the future. More rain will fall in the desert, less will fall in current agricultural areas and all this rain will have the tendency to fall in few but heavy downpours. The situation can be described a situation of drought and flooding. Between rainfalls forest and fields suffer from drought. Then, when it does rain, it comes as a downpour, which is not absorbed by the dry earth, and so causes flooding. The floods wash away precious topsoil and the water is lost. Jordan is also experiencing this pattern. Elsewhere in the region rainfall will decrease, worsening the already protracted drought affecting the Middle East.

Coming at climate change from another direction, everyone in the coastal strip knows not to travel anywhere Thursday afternoon because intense traffic jams block the freeway, making movement virtually impossible. These regular traffic jams are economically wasteful, polluting, socially negative, bad for our health, and contribute to global warming. Israel needs an integrated clean transport plan to help reduce our carbon footprint.

What is Israel doing to face this situation? Or the other countries of the Middle East? Is anything being done? Can anything be done? How are government policies in agriculture, water, forestry, energy production dealing with this situation? Israel is known as a hi-tech hub and is among the world leaders in developing clean-tech – but our inventions are sold overseas and not put into practice here. What can be done? In this blog we will examine the various issues facing the region, as well as reporting on issues for which Greenpeace is active in Israel.

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