Now accepting applications for Fast Company Middle East’s Most Innovative Companies. Click here to apply.
This is a year of extreme global temperatures. World temperature records have been broken, as climate scientists say 2023 could become the hottest year on record, and Iraq might be one of the most affected countries.
During UN human rights chief Volker Turk’s four-day visit to Iraq, he warned that the “era of global boiling” has begun after witnessing the country’s extreme summer heat and pollution.
Turk met with leaders and traveled the country in 50°C heat to discuss climate change and human rights.
“Standing in searing heat in that scarred landscape, breathing air polluted by the many gas flares dotting the region, it was clear to me that the era of global boiling has indeed begun,” he said at a news conference in Baghdad, referring to his time in southern Iraq’s oil-producing Basra region, according to Reuters.
Iraq is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, according to the UN.
The country is listed as the fifth-most vulnerable country to climate breakdown, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), given their extreme climate conditions such as high temperatures, insufficiency and lack of rain, drought, and water scarcity, and frequent sand and dust storms and floods.
Iraq has been going through years of persistent drought, due to water mismanagement and sparse rainfall, according to the Ministry of water resources. Around 94% of Iraq’s displaced population in the southern governorates cited water scarcity as a major reason for their displacement, according to the ICRC.
“What is happening here is a window into a future that is now coming for other parts of the world if we continue to fail in our responsibility to take preventive and mitigating action against climate change,” Turk said.
Last week, Iran was shut down for two days as the heat exceeded 51 degrees Celsius in the southern city of Ahvaz, while many cities in southern Iran have already suffered from days of exceptional heat.
Loading the player...
Is technology the answer for food security in the Middle East?