Wednesday 21 October 2020, 5.00pm – 7.00pm


‘Deaths on the Nile’

Climate Change in the Middle East, Year 2075.  An informed speculation 

Professor David J. Drewry

Non-Executive Director, UK Commission for UNESCO

Former Vice Chancellor; MESG, University of Hull

Opening words: Professor Stephen Hardy, PhD, LLB, SFHEA, MCIArb, FRSA, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Law and Politics 


“It is 2075, and the region stretching from the north African states of Libya and Egypt into the Arabian Peninsula, east beyond the Persian Gulf and curling back through ancient Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean via Iraq and Jordan, has been the locus of a climate cataclysm for over a hundred years since the end of the 20th Century. Pervasive aridity and rising temperatures make it one of the hottest region on Earth and have conspired to make towns and cities almost uninhabitable, wrecked agriculture and compromised the lives of many millions of people trapped in nature’s furnace. For those people living inland of the coast or the main rivers access to water has dominated day-to-day existence. Along the Mediterranean coastal fringe disaster has befallen towns and villages from rising sea levels and frequent storm surges. These have cruelly imperilled ageless cities like Alexandria while flooding and the insidious intrusion of salt water has reduced the once rich harvests of the Nile Delta. Migrants are clustered at the southern borders of Egypt beyond which malnutrition has stalked neighbouring countries.”

Today in 2020, the narrative of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been consistent for three decades that there is rapid warming of the planet with impacts on natural systems and human society. One region with high levels of climate vulnerability is the Middle East. It is characterised by high population density, high population growth, the rapid spread of urbanization, scarce water resources, faltering agriculture, declining fisheries in addition to substantial societal and economical transitions and armed conflicts in some countries. These factors make the region one of very high risk from the consequences of rapid climate change.

The paper explores the likely impacts on the region from the perspective of fifty years hence; Egypt is taken as a case study.


David Drewry served as Vice-Chancellor of Hull University (1999-2009). He is Honorary Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he holds a Doctorate in Geophysics, and where he was previously Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute. He has honorary professorships at London University and Xiamen University, China. David is Trustee Emeritus of the Natural History Museum, was previously Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Vice-President of the European University Association and a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. David has been awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Prix de la Belgica Gold Medal of the Royal Academy of Belgium, the Polar Medal, the United States Antarctic Service Medal and several honorary degrees from British and overseas universities. He has a mountain and a glacier named after him in Antarctica. 

Date:                   Wednesday 21 October 2020, 5.00pm – 7.00pm

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All are welcome to attend.