Climate change and the Gulf and Sub-Saharan countries. : Discussions at CoP 24 at Poland and other countries.

Along side the main CoP 24 conference in Poland, several side discussions are being held to focus current issues related to reduction of CO2 emissions. One such discussion being held in Washington, DC is related to the preparedness of Arab countries to tackle climate change. All the gulf countries and sub-Saharan countries will be the most affected regions of the world due to climate change and weather vagaries. Among the most affected are countries like Djibouti and  Eritrea and oil rich countries are no better than these countries.  These countries are vulnerable to food and water security in the near future due to climate change. For Eritrea agriculture contributes 12 % to the country’s GDP. Soil erosion is the greatest problem for the country that is decreasing the cultivable land for agriculture. Several dams have been constructed to store surface water and several bore holes have been drilled for irrigation. Due to poor rainfall such exercises have proved futile and the country is heavily dependent on food imports. Although estimated groundwater potential is about 500 x 106 m3,  the demand is much higher than this estimate. It is around 2540 x 106 m3. Oil rich countries like Saudi Arabia has increased its wheat imports from 1.9 to 3.1 million tonne. But fresh water is needed for the live stock and Date farms (agriculture contributes 3% to the GDP!).. The country heavily depends on desalination using fossil fuels. Not economical at all. The desalinated water is costly but for the Govt. subsidy is sold at 0.03 US$/m3. While the average global cost is 6 US$ / m3.

The side discussions/conferences may be attended by top official with strong academic tags but the ground reality is to use renewable energy for desalination. So the entire focus of the Gulf countries (including sub Saharan countries) to find out methods to increase the production of desalinated water using renewable energy (with low carbon foot print) and reduce dependency on food imports. This what should be preached at such conferences by the educated elite.  Countries with geothermal energy resources should augment the process of development of this energy source for desalination there by securing country’s food and water security.