‘Apocalypse soon’: reluctant Middle East forced to open eyes to climate crisis

‘Apocalypse soon’: reluctant Middle East forced to open eyes to climate crisis

With the region warming twice as fast as the rest of the world but oil spoils keeping regimes in power, leaders are in a bind

Northern Oman has just been battered by Cyclone Shaheen, the first tropical cyclone to make it that far west into the Gulf. Around Basra in southern Iraq this summer, pressure on the grid owing to 50C heat led to constant blackouts, with residents driving around in their cars to stay cool.

Kuwait broke the record for the hottest day ever in 2016 at 53.6, and its 10-day rolling average this summer was equally sweltering. Flash floods occurred in Jeddah, and more recently Mecca, while across Saudi Arabia average temperatures have increased by 2%, and the maximum temperatures by 2.5%, all just since the 1980s. In Qatar, the country with the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world and the biggest producer of liquid gas, the outdoors is already being air conditioned.

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