Natural resource loss could spur violence, disease spread in the region, says INSS senior research fellow Dr. Oded Eran.
In a region that has grown increasingly vulnerable to both the effects of climate change and cross-border resource depletion, it has become all the more critical that neighbors develop interdependent solutions for their water and energy sectors, experts agreed on Thursday.
"We will go to war over water if we don\’t find comprehensive solutions for this issue," said Dr. Oded Eran, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies.
Eran was participating in a conference on "Climate Change and Geo-Strategic Aspects of Water, Environment and Energy Issues in the Middle East” – organized by the INSS, together with EcoPeace Middle East (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. A failure among neighbors to band together on such issues could lead to potentially disastrous consequences, such as regional violence or disease spread, according to experts who gathered from both Israel and abroad on Thursday.
"This area is in a climate crisis," said Prof. Arnon Soffer, of the University of Haifa’s Geography Department. "Any change in floods or drought brings about human crises. Any additional degree in the [temperature] increases violence."
While much of the discussion on Wednesday focused on opportunities for Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, Soffer also looked also presented problematic situations in Egypt and Turkey that have been exacerbated by climate change.