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Climate change and the
Mediterranean area
Even before the issue of climate change entered mainstream debate, the
Mediterranean and the countries around it were known to be exposed to
high environmental risks: population growth, migration of rural popula-
tions to coastal urban centres, mass tourism, doubling of water consump-
tion since the 1950s, more than 100 endangered species.

Most people
no longer doubt the reality of climate change and see it as a genuine
threat, particularly in the Mediterranean, where it is making an already
bad situation worse.
The Mediterranean is particularly sensitive to population movements. Lastly, uneven historic
climate change for three reasons, with grave development between the north and south of
consequences for the political stability of re- the Mediterranean has given rise to states and
gimes on both sides of the sea. First, long dec- societies that do not enjoy the same share of
ades of exploitation have already depleted nat- resources, with a big gap between rich Euro-
ural resources both off and onshore. Secondly, pean nations, and their poorer Middle Eastern
forecasts for climate change indicate even and North African neighbours.
more severe desertification, with decreas-
ing water supplies, particularly in the Middle Should climate change spark conflicts one of
East and North Africa. This in turn could dis- the most likely battlegrounds could be the line
rupt agriculture and public health, and cause dividing the Mediterranean. Changes in rainfall
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