The Persian Gulf is among the most vulnerable regions on earth to the effects of climate change. Located in one of the hottest and driest parts of the planet, the region is vulnerable to extreme heat waves, dust storms, and water scarcity. The challenges posed by environmental degradation will increase in frequency and severity with further climate change. The reality of the need for region-wide effort makes environmental cooperation necessary for the broader region Meanwhile, protecting the natural environment of the region is not just an ecological concern, but a security one as well. Unmitigated climate change could spur conflict over limited resources. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to introduce a panel of experts to discuss these important issues with a special focus on the view from Iran. A forthcoming panel will elaborate climate change concerns from the perspective of the Gulf Arab states.
What are the key Gulf environmental concerns confronting Iran? How dependent is it on desalination for its water security and what are the trends on this front? How can the United States or other third-parties help in combating the environmental challenges while remaining mindful of local pitfalls and sensitivities?
Civil engineer, Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California
Board member, Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East
Visiting Fellow, Council on Middle East Studies, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University
Alex Vatanka, moderator
Director, Iran Program; senior fellow, Frontier Europe Initiative, MEI
Photo by Atta Kenare via Getty Images