Climate change could have a devastating effect on the lives of millions in the East Mediterranean and Middle East, where temperatures are rising nearly twice as fast as the global average, an international team of scientists warned.
The region could see an overall warming of up to 5 degrees Celsius or more by the end of the century on a business-as-usual scenario, a report prepared by the Cyprus Institute said.
That temperature spike was almost twice that anticipated in other areas of the planet, and faster than any other inhabited parts of the world, it said.
A combination of reduced rainfall and weather warming will contribute to severe droughts, compromising water and food security, with many countries unprepared for rising sea levels, one expert said.
Meeting the main targets of the Paris Agreement, a global pact of countries to cut emissions, could stabilize the annual temperature increase to about 2 degrees Celsius.
Scientists recommend rapid implementation of decarbonization actions with a particular emphasis on the energy and transportation sectors.