How does the Middle East view climate change compared with the rest of the world?

Published November 8th, 2015 - 09:13 GMT
A Pew study showed only 29 percent of those polled in the Middle East were worried about immediate effects of climate change. (AFP/File)
A Pew study showed only 29 percent of those polled in the Middle East were worried about immediate effects of climate change. (AFP/File)

A recent study by the National Climate Change said the Gulf will be so hot by the end of the 21st century, it'll become uninhabitable. As the Middle East faces global warming, there's more at risk than just the land — in Saudi Arabia, Mecca holds the holiest site in Islam where millions of Muslims travel every year to perform Hajj.

Yet the region is already facing its share of immediate concerns. So when it comes to climate change, some nations don't want to be bothered. 

In a Pew study released Thursday, a poll showed the Middle East had little concern over climate change compared with the rest of the world. The Pew Research Study polled 40 countries on the issue — only 26 percent of those in Middle Eastern nations were worried about immediate effects.

The less carbon emissions a nation had, the more likely its nationals would be concerned over climate change. The US had one of the highest carbon emissions in the world, yet global warming remains a partisan issue. It's tough making Americans believe global warming is actually happening let alone an issue worth changing policies over. 

The Middle East, however, was an exception to that link. If you take a look at the chart, the polled Middle Eastern countries (in yellow) generally sit at the end of the carbon emissions scale yet far lower than the correlation line. In other words, they don't emit much carbon and also don't care. 

Middle Easterners also overwhelmingly thought the responsibility of regulating climate change falls on rich countries.

Water deprivation in the region didn't make much of a difference. While droughts were the top concern among nations polled, only 38 percent of those in the Middle East worried about it.

Here's a look at the map:

By Hayat Norimine


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