In the furnace

Saudi Arabia and the dynamics of global climate change

Authored by: James A. Russell

Handbook of Transitions to Energy and Climate Security

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781857437454
eBook ISBN: 9781315723617
Adobe ISBN:


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Saudi Arabia sits the middle of the world’s climate furnace – there are few hotter, drier places on the planet. It’s only going to get even hotter and drier throughout Saudi Arabia and the Middle East over the rest of the century as the world continues to dump carbon into the atmosphere. Since 1995, the world’s atmosphere has seen carbon amounts increase from 360 parts per million to an estimated 400 parts per million by 2015. The world’s atmosphere has never had more carbon in it. 1 Some researchers estimate an increase in temperature of 3 degrees Celsius throughout the Middle East by 2050. According to climate change researchers, the Arabian Peninsula eventually will become too hot for people to remain outdoors for more than six hours at one time. Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Jeremy Pal and Elfatih Elfatir categorically state “… by the end of the century certain population centres in the same region are likely to experience temperature levels that are intolerable to humans owing to the consequences of increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs).” 2

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