Middle East Summers Could Become Uninhabitable By End Of Century

James Hansen has a dire warning for the Middle East and tropical areas: Summer is coming.

By the end of the century, the so-called “father of global warming” predicts that rising temperatures caused by human-induced climate change will render the countries that already experience hot summers unlivable during those months.

“The tropics and the Middle East in summer are in danger of becoming practically uninhabitable by the end of the century if business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions continue, because wet bulb temperature could approach the level at which the human body is unable to cool itself even under well-ventilated outdoor conditions,” Hansen, an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, wrote in a new paper published Wednesday and co-authored with his colleague Makiko Sato.

The Blame Game

Hansen’s prediction means places in central Africa, Southeast Asia and the already conflict-ridden Middle East will suffer some of the most devastating effects of climate change, despite historically being far less to blame for carbon emissions than the industrialized Northern Hemisphere. The United States and Europe are responsible for more than a quarter of all human-made emissions. China is on the hook for another 10 percent, Hansen said.

“There is thus the striking incongruity between locations of largest climate change and responsibility for fossil fuel emissions,” the researchers wrote.

Therein lies the problem that has dogged environmental policymakers for the better part of the last decade. For the most part, countries that face the worst effects of climate change benefited the least from the fossil fuel era that caused it. They are therefore less prepared to pay for the economic and environmental overhauls needed to avert a temperature rise about 2 degrees Celsius, after which point scientists predict global warming will render the climate unrecognizable.

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