will have a severe impact on livelihoods and change, with more frequent drought and forest
agriculture, in a part of the world where living fires, and changes in crop suitability.
standards are particularly contrasted, split be- meantime water shortages will become more
tween north and south, between post and pre- acute due to rising demand from irrigation and
industrial, between European integration for tourism. “In 1995, about 193 million people out
achieve lasting peace, and the Middle East and of a total EU population of 383 million faced wa-
North Africa still searching for a roadmap for ter shortages. Several climate models predicted
modernity. Much as the random events of his- that between 20 and 38 per cent of the Mediter-
tory, the hazards of climate change will exacer- ranean population would be living under condi-
bate the unequal share-out – of water this time tions of ‘increased water stress’”.
– between the northern and southern shores
of the Mediterranean. But the nations to the south of the Mediter-
ranean are not powerless in the face of these
It looks very much as if climate change will challenges. Several North African countries
only make a bad situation worse. Several re- have rich oil and gas reserves. Their young
ports already point out that precipitation in population is an invaluable resource, a poten-
the Mediterranean basin has dropped in recent tial workforce for Europe’s ageing continent.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Cli- Often seen as a source of problems, these mi-
mate Change (IPCC) projections for 2080-2099 grants may yet prove vital to the economies of
forecast that “substantial decreases [of rainfall] both shores. So the real question is whether
of up to 20 per cent [will] occur in the Mediter- the two sides of the Mediterranean can find
Other studies reveal that mountain- ways of working together to face present and
ous areas will be the hardest hit due to climate future challenges.